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World’s First Pinotage Icewine from British Columbia

Posted: Friday, 16 August 2013 15:05

World’s First Pinotage Icewine from British Columbia

Aug 16: Pinotage is undoubtedly South Africa’s signature and controversial grape which is either loved or hated by connoisseurs from South Africa and elsewhere but the world’s first icewine using the grape has been produced by Stoneboat Vineyards, a family owned winery in southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia

Click For Large ViewThe wine, sold in frosted, half-sized bottles is a salmon pink colour with 8.3% alcohol and a residual sugar of 230gms/liter. It has intense aromas of fresh raspberry and candied apple. Subtle notes of dried cranberry and raisin are nicely balanced by spicy undertones on the palate. It can be drunk now or may be cellared till 2025.  It sells only at the winery for C$75, according to the report in

Thanks to Kevin Loyens, the Senior Manager Priority Markets (India), Trade Commission of British Columbia, I connected with Tim Martiniuk, General Manager and son of the founder Lanny and Julie Martiniuk of the Stoneboat Vineyards near Olivers in the southern Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

Tim informs delWine, ‘Lanny Martiniuk, the winery's proprietor and viticulturist was impressed with the toughness of Pinotage berries. The skins are thick; they resist bunch rot and stay firmly attached to the rachis. The intensity of its colour was also encouraging, because it’s difficult to retain colour for red icewines when you’re pressing frozen berries. We decided to risk a couple of rows of Pinotage and saved them for icewine in 2012.’

‘Harvesting began at 1:00 at night on January 11 at - 11.5º C. Picking took about two hours with a crew of 10 people. We were fortunate that the wind wasn’t blowing - in some years the wind chill can drop the temperature to -18º. We began pressing the Pinotage as soon as we had enough to fill our press, which is a little wooden .25 ton that we borrow from a friend across the valley. It takes roughly an hour and a half per pressing to yield about 50 liters of pale pink syrup. It took about 6 hours to press the crop,’ says Tim.

Lanny was in fact, the first grower in Canada to propagate Pinotage vines for the South African owner of a Naramata winery, near Okanagan Lake in British Columbia.

He took a couple of vines from that vineyard and had tissue samples taken from his two vines, and from them grew 7 acres of plants, even though there was no real market for Pinotage grapes in 1998. Larry believes that Okanagan has a great potential for Pinotage that is much different from its South African counterpart. His Pinotage 2007 won the Lieutenant Governor’s
Award of Excellence and he has not looked back since then.

Tim adds, ‘We’ve been producing another botrytis-affected icewine – Verglas - for the past several years, and began to consider experimenting with Pinotage.’

For more information write to

A group of the British Columbia producers, Canada are planning to come to Mumbai and Delhi where there are wine events planned. Kevin says Stoneboat Winery will not be visiting but might be sending samples for tasting. It could be an opportunity for a select few in Mumbai and Delhi to taste perhaps the first Pinotage icewine in the world.

Subhash Arora

Tags: Pinotage, South Africa, icewine, Stoneboat Vineyards, Okanagan Valley, Tim Martiniuk, Lanny Martiniuk, Canada, botrytis, Verglas, British Columbia


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