Pinotage wine in other countries
Although it has now been around for nearly 90 years, Pinotage is still mostly grown in the country of its origin, South Africa, but it has also been planted quite heavily in New Zealand and Zimbabwe, with other wine growing nations such as Germany, the US, Israel and Brazil. Despite these plantings, Pinotage remains a largely South African produced wine, and when it is drunk outside of that country, it is usually as an export.
New Zealand is perhaps the prime example of a country that not only grows the grape, but also imports South African Pinotage. NZ is considered to be the second largest grower of Pinotage vines, and the first wine was produced there in 1964. It is still popular in the Auckland area since it was designed to be easy to grow and resistant to humidity and frost. However, affection for Pinotage has reduced since the introduction of many French-origin grapes and only a few vineyards in New Zealand still produce Pinotage, such as Noblio Wines, or Kerr Farm, both in Auckland, and Spencer Hill Vineyard, which grows grapes in Nelson.
Zimbabwe has perhaps the second largest planting of Pinotage outside of South Africa, but like early growers from the latter country, it is taking the wine estates a while to find the blends to match the distinctive character of the grapes. There is still some question over whether those who currently own vineyards and wineries in Zimbabwe actually know how to produce good wines, but there are more than a few examples of poor Pinotage wines coming from experienced growers. It is often just a matter of getting used to the nature of the grape, which can take a little time.
American wine growers have also become interested in the possibilities of Pinotage, and a number of vineyards across the States have begun planting, with some not only growing but also making wines commercially. In New York there was a long tradition of Pinotage being grown in Cornell University, but these were recently lost, and there were also come being grown in the Geneva vineyard there with wine being sold commercially. There are also more than 20 growers in California with Loma Prieta being the biggest producer of wines, while others have large vineyards.
Since 2008 there have also been rumours that Germany is preparing to join the throng of countries who are ready to grow Pinotage. This may be in part due to the good showing of Pinotage wines in the International Wine Awards of 2008, where were hosted in Germany. However, despite these rumours, which have appeared persistently throughout the internet, there is as yet no vineyard in Germany producing mature Pinotage grapes. It may be that wine fans will have to wait a few more years for Germany to take up the South African wine, or it may be just a rumour caused by excitement over the awards won by Pinotage during the 2008 Awards.