Tuesday, October 31, 2017




Dix fois coloré — ‘coloured 10 times’, Teinturier mâle (France); Färbertraube, Tintewein (Germany); Pontacq, Pontak (South Africa).

Origin and cultivation background

Pontac is one of the oldest cultivars in South Africa and was probably cultivated in Van Riebeeck’s time, but definitely in the Van der Stel era. As early as 1772, the Dutch ship De Hoop carried, along with other wines and brandies, a leaguer of Pontac to the Netherlands, where it was sold at a price four times that of Chenin blanc.

Prof. Perold proved that Pontac is similar to Teinturier mâle. Documentary evidence that the early Cape cultivars came from France (probably from western and south-western France) posed the question whether South African Pontac might have a connection to the famous Pontac family of  Bordeaux, after whom the small area south of Bordeaux is named. Until relatively recently, fortified sweet Pontac was quite popular in South Africa, but it hardly exists any more. The cultivar is still grown, however, with limited quantities found in all the regions, except for the Orange River and Paarl areas.

Cultivation characteristics

Pontac has moderate vigour and a semi-upright growth habit. Grows best on relatively fertile soils in the warmer regions. The yield potential is medium to low because of its small bunches. Despite the high fertility of the basal buds, cane pruning and low trellising are often utilised in order to achieve satisfactory crops. Susceptible to oidium but reasonably resistant to other diseases — a normal spray programme should be followed, however. Under ideal conditions it produces a rich, red juice with a very strong, characteristic bouquet that can be used with great success to produce fortified, sweet Pontac wines. Good compatibility with commercial rootstocks.


Yield potential

8 -10 tons per ha

Average sugar concentration

23—2 5°B

Average acid concentration

8—9 g/l

Clone characteristics :

The available clones are characterised by good quality stable colour, and grass and
berry flavours.


Shoot tips

Felty, white with violet-red colouration around the margins.


Small, round, five-lobed, dark green, markedly blistered, downy underneath. The petiole sinus is lyre-shaped and closed to overlapping. .

The apical and middle sinuses are reasonably deep and open. The teeth are short, blunt and convex. The petiole is red. Leaves often display early autumn colours (probably as a result of leaf roll infection).


Small, cylindrical to somewhat conical, usually fairly compact. The peduncle is short, thick
and tough.


Medium-sized, practically round, dark black when fully ripe with moderate bloom. The skin
is thick and tough. The pulp ¡s blood red with little juice when fully ripe. Coloured juice. The
brush is blood red.


Bud burst

First half of September.


End of October to first half of November.


Mid-season, first half of March.

(Grape Cultivars for wine Production in South Africa – PG Goussard)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New varieties for the future

According to Jose Vouillamoz co-author of Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours Hardcover , 2012 with Jancis Robinson (Author) and Julia Harding (Author), the following varieties will be the new stars of the future. The varieties are currently obscure. .

Italy has 377 varieties commercially to make wine.

  • Timorasso 20 ha currently – Piemonte white variety very aromatic, not easy to grow but many producers replanting this. The new star.
  • Mammolo 147 ha – Tuscany – grown in Corsica too. Much fruit, soft tannins
  • Nieddera 60 ha – Sardinia – has structure and nice body and has been rescued by Contini
  • Teroldego 839 ha – Trentino – lots of colour and fruit, very alpine. Fresh with bitterness. Grows pergola or gobelet. See Foradori for good examples. 


  • Douce Noir 2 ha – Savoie. Used to be the most widespread variety in the region. In Argentina they have more than 18 600 ha of this, which they call Bonarda. 
  • Counoise 443 ha – South of France, and one of the permitted varieties in Chateauneuf – brings spices – soft and aromatic 
  • Tibouren 445 ha- Provence, mostly rose wines but excellent reds, such as Clos Sibon. Wines with personality, structure and fruity aromas. 


  • Graciano 1468 ha – ‘I’d like to see more of this,’ says José. ‘I love these wines in Sardinia.’ Tinta Miuda in Portugal 
  • Garro 2 ha – part of the Torres rescue program in Catalonia. Very promising. 
  • Gorgollasa 4 ha Majorca 


  • Alvarelhao 67 ha – from the Minho Rabigato 2452 ha – Douro 
  • Alfrocheiro 1492 – Dão, Lisboa 
  • Jampal 106 ha – Lisboa


  • Limniona 10 ha 
  • Chidiriotiko 60 ha – the pinot of Greece from lesbos 
  • Kydonista 10 ha 

Switzerland has 39 varieties and 15 000 hectares

  • Arvine 173 ha 
  • Rouge du Pays/Cornalin 135 ha 


  • Lasina 10 ha – light red with soft tannins 
  • Svrdlovina Crna 1 ha just one producer, everyone amazed by this wine at a recent conference 


  • Ezerjo (1665 ha) 
  • Fekete Jardovany (2 ha) 

Georgia Claims to have 525 varieties but José says they aren’t all different

  • Kisi – 50 ha 
  • Shavkapito – 10 ha 


  •  Emir 92 ha – light-bodied white Bogazkere 


  • Sankt Laurent 795 ha – a child of Pinot 
  • Zierfandlen 


  •  Voskeat – white Areni – ‘for me one of the best varieties of the world, Armenia’s Nebbiolo’