Pinotage on Tap came to England this weekend. The South Downs of coastal Sussex vibrated with Afrikaans, rocked to South African songs, were scented with bobotie, potjiekos & malva pudding and flowed with purple Pinotage.
Diemersfontein had brought a barrel of their famous coffee Pinotage and flown in musicians from the Cape to remind ex-pats of home and they’d installed a kitchen and a team of chefs to produce platters of home-style cooking.
The location was a farm on the crest of the rolling low chalk hills along the coast known as the South Downs. This area is home to English sparkling wine and next to the PoT field was a newly planted vineyard of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier.
Diemersfontein’s celebration of its new Pinotage vintage was first celebrated with Pinotage on Tap in 2005. Since then the annual event has grown and spawned satellite PoTs in Johannesburg and Durban. 2012 saw the first international PoT in England.
The recipe was straightforward. Erect a marquee to cover the musicians' stage and shelter the kitchen, place a oak barrel of 2011 Pinotage on a stack of hay bales, clear the skies of clouds, let the sun blaze down and have the mercury settle around 28C.
Then arrange a shuttle bus to bring participants from the nearest railway station on the London-Brighton line and give out goody bags filled with water bottles, biltong, beef rolls and the all important Pinotage on Tap wine glass, garnish with a welcome from the organiser and open the Pinotage barrel.
In the Cape PoT now hosts 2,500 people, but a more modest number attended this first UK event. “We are expecting around 300 people today,” said organiser and Diemersfontein owner David Sonnenberg. Unfortunately the second day of the event was cancelled because of low bookings.
Those of us who did attend sat on hay bales relaxing in the sun, listening to South African musicians Lonesome Dave Ferguson, Albert Frost & Robin Auld, eating our fill and sipping Pinotage straight from the barrel on an idyllic afternoon. What could be better?
David Sonnenberg talks PoT with Peter F May of The Pinotage Club.