06 October 2006

Ontario's first Pinotage vintage

Peter May harvesting Ontario's very first Pinotage This is me last week picking the very first Pinotage grapes harvested in Ontario, Canada.

I was at Fieldmouse Vineyards , owned by Peter and Susan Laidlaw. Peter planted a row of Pinotage five years ago; these vines have now grown for four vintages and now they're ready for picking.

The bunches were firm and full with even ripening and no unripe green grapes (see picture on right), no insect or bird damage and only some insignificant botrytis.
Pinotage Grapes at Fieldmouse

Brix was 23 (giving a potential alcohol level of 12.5%) while Peter's Pinot Noir was 18-20 and Peter reckoned his Pinot Noir would need another week before they were ready to be picked.

Peter said "Based on the grape quality and early ripening I'm pretty determined to put in at least 2000 Pinotage vines now."

Fieldmouse vineyards is on the ridge above the town of Vineland. It's on a crest and you can see Lake Ontario from his vineyards. Currently they are mostly planted with Concord and Fredonia hybrid vines that he inherited and which he is removing.


  1. Anonymous17:05

    This is great news - I can't wait to try our very first varietal Pinotage. It will be most interesting to see what sort of wine Ontario can produce from South Africa's own red grape, and also to see what sort of varietal typicity carries over when the variety is grown in our very different climate. I will be watching this development with interest.

  2. Del-Gatto Estates in Prince Edward County has been making superb Pinotage for five years now from vines from their own vineyard.