19 April 2017

Ontario Joins Pinotage Family

Del Gatto Estates in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada made their first Pinotage vintage in 2014.
Pasquale (Pat) Del-Gatto is a fourth generation winemaker of Italian heritage, and with his family bought the 74 acre property in 2001. He researched potential vineyard locations in British Columbia, California and the Niagara region before choosing Prince Edward County as it compares in latitude and longitude to European wine regions. 

The estate is roughly 140 miles (225 km) east of Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario.

The Del Gatto family started planting vines in 2002 and  now have 8 acres planted with nine hybrid varieties plus  Pinotage. 

They produce  small case lots of exclusive, premium quality white, rosé and red wines from their disease resistant and cold hardy vineyard, as well as an aged fortified port-style wine.
Pat Del-Gatto, Owner Winemaker
Pat Del-Gatto told me “We have about an acre of Pinotage, planted in 2011, in Waupoos clay loam soil, one of the more rare soil profiles in Prince Edward County.”

I asked Pat why he chose Pinotage. “About 30 years ago I was in
California,” he said, “and came across a Pinotage wine event presented by South African producers’ first launch in North America. I was so taken by the characteristics of the wine that it became a pursuit. 

When I started my vineyard/winery in 2002, I promised myself that I would find this vine and plant it. Finally in 2010 I sourced the bud wood and had a nursery make me young vines.

“They survive well in our climate but we do bury the vines in the fall and unbury in spring. This year we have no bud loss (though winter was somewhat mild). The yield is amazing and the skin is considerably tougher than Pinot and very little disease pressure.”

In the 2016 vintage, not yet released, they produced two barrels. The 2015 vintage is sold out.
Del Gatto Estates brings the number of Pinotage estates in Canada, that I am aware of, to four; the other three are in British Columbia on the West Coast.

Images courtesy of Del-Gatto Estates


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