In the chapter 'The Madeira Mystery' we meet Franklin Houser, owner of Dry Comal Creek Winery in Texas and his Black Spanish vines.

Franklin tastes and talks about  Black Spanish wine in this brief video made for the Texas Department of Agriculture Wine Division.

The interviewer is  Tanji Patton.

Richard Auffrey is a journalist who writes a restaurant and wine  column for the Stoneham Sun newspaper in Masachussets. He bought a copy of my book via and today he posted a detailed review in his Passionate Foodie blog.

He says :-

"This is a very comprehensive book, covering so many different aspects of Pinotage, from its origins to its future. I learned plenty about this grape, much of the information probably not available elsewhere. Peter also helps to clarify the facts behind the myths surrounding Pinotage. I enjoyed the stories about Pinotage wine makers and wineries. Overall, I was very pleased with this book and certainly recommend it.

Peter May has written an excellent and fascinating book about an intriguing grape and I recommend you check it out."

Read his full review here


New Zealand wine writer  Sue Courtney has posted her review of my book on her website at

She says in her review "There are many myths and legends associated with Pinotage and Peter covers them and debunks them. He also unravels a mystery that any mention of here would spoil for readers.

Congratulations Peter - this is wonderful PR for this misunderstood grape and the wine its makes. It's a well-researched and easy to read book. I recommend it."

Sue has  researched which is the oldest Pinotage growing in New Zealand and confirms my statement in the book that they are  "probably at Kerr Farm". Sue writes that "finally, after speaking to every possible current and former Pinotage grape grower, I can confirm that Kerr Farms' vines, planted in 1969, are now the oldest still in production for a commercial Pinotage wine. "  

Thanks Sue.


Sixty people attended the tasting of Pinotage earlier this month and they seemed to  greatly enjoy it,  from the feedback received.

I was impressed by the professional looking newsletter the club produce after each tasting. I was given a draft of the one about my tasting. There's some typos which will be corrected, but I thought you'd like to see the column, titled PINOTAGE an exposé  about the tasting :-


 I have been asked to present a tasting on Tuesday 14 April of Pinotages to a wine club of 60 people  in Brentwood, Essex, and I am currently writing the tasting sheets .

I couldn't get hold of any non-South African pinotages for the tasting, so I decided to have a theme of 'firsts'.

These are the eight wines I will be showing on Tuesday:

Delheim Rosé
Pinotage 2008
(Delheim were the 1st winery to make a rosé Pinotage in 1976)

Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose
Méthode Cap Classique 2006
Simonsig were the 1st South African winery to make a Methode Champenoise sparkler in 1971)

ENIGMA Blanc de Noirs
Pinotage 2008
(this is the 1st commercial release of a white Pinotage)

Warwick Estate
Three Cape Ladies
Cape Blend 2005
(Warwick's 3 Cape Ladies was the 1st cape blend in Wine Spectator’s World’s Top 100 Wines)

Pinotage 2008
(Diemersfontein pioneered the amazing 'coffee & chocolate style' of Pinotage and it was voted 1st choice of readers of The Cape Times which proclaimed it “the Peoples’ Pinotage”)

Bellevue Estate
Pinotage 2007
(Bellevue grew and made the world’s 1st varietal Pinotage in 1959 )

Pinotage 2006
(1st winery to have 2 wines, this is one of them, in Pinotage 10 Competition)

Kanonkop Estate
Pinotage 2004
(Kanonkop is South Africa’s ‘1st Growth’ says WINE Magazine)

Problem, as always, is sourcing the wines I wanted. I ordered some Reyneke, which is theolny biodynanically grown Pinotage but then the supplier cancelled theorder as they had only one bottle. And I couldn't get 4 bottles of NZ or California Pinotages either.


Welcome to this new blog for PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa's Own Wine


    Peter F May is the author of PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa's OWn Wine and founder of The Pinotage Club, an international cyber-based fan club for wines made from the Pinotage variety. Peter was awarded Honorary Membership of the producers Pinotage Association in 2004 and was a judge at the annual Pinotage Top 10 Competition in 2004 and 2005. Peter is a wine writer, educator and author. His book Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape - odd wines from around the world was published in summer 2006. Peter answers all polite emails - contact him at peter (at) pinotage (dot) org


    October 2009
    June 2009
    April 2009