Strongly influenced by winemaking practices, Pinotage is typically deep red in color, medium to full bodied, high in tannin and fruity. It is often blended, or made into fortified wine and sometimes a red sparkling wine.
The vine is vigorous, ripens early and has high sugar levels. Pinotage has a tendency to develop isoamyl acetate and high volatile acidity during vinification and can sometimes smell like paint or vinegar.
A product of Stellenbosch University dating back to 1925, Pinotage is a cross between the Burgundy grape Pinot Noir and the Rhône variety Cinsault, which was called Hermitage at the time. Pinotage was specifically created to thrive in South Africa. It is also grown in small quantities in Brazil, Canada, Israel, New Zealand and the U.S.