The Bellevue Wine Estate started out as a livestock farm long before it made history as the centre of commercial pinotage cultivation in South Africa. Their characteristic, closely planted bush vines lend themselves naturally to sustainable, biodynamic cultivation, while delivering fruit with intense and concentrated flavour. 1953 was the year that one of South Africa’s first Pinotage vineyards was planted with a view to production on a commercial scale – this after years of propagation and nurturing that followed the crossing of Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsaut) at Stellenbosch University in 1925.
This vineyard at Bellevue was a source of grapes for the first Pinotage wine to go on sale – a 1959 vintage released in 1961 – and some 60 years later its fruit is used to make the flagship on the estate, a single-vineyard wine from the oldest Pinotage plantings on record. Back in 1953, it was a case of history in the making, the beginning of a significant chapter about the most successful South African grape, with Pinotage having grown to rank third among the most-planted red wine varieties in the country, after Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Today, a trio consisting of owner and winemakers Dirkie Morkel, Wilhelm Kritzinger & Anneke Potgieter incorporate the harvests of these gnarly old vines with innovative production methods to produce award winning wines.