25 May 2009

PINOTAGE:Behind the Legends of South Africa's Own Wine

Announcing the first book about Pinotage!!

Pinotage is South Africa’s very own wine, but there has never been a book about it until the Pinotage Club's Peter F May from England decided to tell its story.

2009 is the 50th anniversary of the world’s first Pinotage wine and in PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine author Peter F May tells the story of this uniquely South African grape variety, its creator, Professor Abraham Perold and the people who grow and make Pinotage.

During researches in South Africa Peter F May was told information that differed from the standard definition of Pinotage in text books. Turning detective, May investigated various legends about Pinotage's parentage and origins.

I felt like Sherlock Holmes,” he says, “as winemakers told me things in confidence that contradicted everything I'd read about Pinotage.”

Peter F May travelled to four continents to interview winemakers and winery owners for the book which details how Pinotage is grown, made and marketed. As well as covering growing, making and marketing Pinotage in South Africa, he provides a comprehensive review of Pinotage in other countries.


PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine tells of Peter F May's infatuation with the Pinotage variety and follows his investigations into its origins. After exhaustive investigations into various legends about the variety he identifies when and how it was created and first planted and he discovers the oldest living Pinotage vineyard.

The book contains a history of winemaking in South Africa and a biography of Pinotage's creator, Professor Abraham Izak Perold.

May investigates various legends about the variety including ones that say it has Shiraz or an American rootstock vine in it parentage and the reasons for Pinotage’s creation.

In the second part of the book May discusses growing, making and marketing Pinotage wines with case studies of several classic South African vineyards and wineries.

Various styles of Pinotage are discussed, the Cape Blend controversy is covered and criticisms of the variety are analysed.

In the third section of the book, author Peter F May takes a look at Pinotage in other countries. His travels take him from South Africa to California and Virginia, Canada, Israel and New Zealand.

This timely book is for anyone interested in wine and wine making, and those who want to know the full story about South Africa's wine gift to the world.


Peter is a wine writer, educator and author. He is a member of the prestigious Circle of Wine Writers. His first wine book Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape: Odd Wines from Around the World was published in summer 2006 by Quirk Books of Philadelphia, USA.

Peter F May first visited South Africa in 1996 and he has visited the Cape wine lands on average every year since, spending weeks visiting vineyards and wineries and talking with winemakers and winery owners.

In 1997 he founded The Pinotage Club - an international web-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.

PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine
by Peter F May

Published April 2009
248 pages, 25 illustrations, comprehensive end-notes and index
Paperback: 15.59 cm x 23.39 cm, perfect binding, white interior paper (55# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper (90# weight), full-colour exterior ink
ISBN: 978-0-9561523-0-5
Publisher: Inform and Enlighten, England

Read sample pages at http://www.pinotage.weebly.com/


Book and Postage
Dedication Required

US Customers, use button below to pay in US Dollars. Signed book airmailed to you for just $31.25, cheaper than amazon.com!

Dedication Required

Signed and dedicated copies may be ordered by clicking on the above Paypal button or by emailing Peter F May at peter at pinotage dot org or from http://www.pinotage.weebly.com/

The book is available from online channels including stores.lulu.com/pinotage , Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk , Barnesandnoble.com and Borders.co.uk and can be ordered from your local bookshop. A



  1. congratulation pete - it looks fantastic!

    finally someone has a written a book about pinotage and who better to take on the challenge!

  2. I very much look forward to reading it! Congratulations on its publication.

  3. Great news Peter - bet it's a brilliant read! Am getting a copy for Nick's b'day.


  4. Great stuff Peter... can't wait to read it!

    Brandon Marc
    My Wine Cellar