The Paarl and Wellington wine routes celebrated International Pinotage Day on Saturday, October 13, by paying homage to the father of this proudly South African varietal, Professor Abraham Izak Perold.
Professor Perold was born in Paarl in 1880. “Abraham Perold has left an indelible mark on the winemaking industry and is widely considered as the pioneer of modern South African viticulture.
“As the father of pinotage, he richly deserves his place in the South African winemaking industry and we are very proud of this local icon,” says Annelize Stroebel, general manager of Paarl and Wellington Wine and Tourism.
“It is therefore quite natural that Pinotage has become one of our region’s most successful varietals for which our producers have won many accolades.”
Professor Perold matriculated in Wellington and received a bursary to study in Germany. After completing a doctorate in chemistry, he returned to lecture at the University in Cape Town before going on a government mission to explore other grape varietals that might be suitable for planting in the Cape.
On his return with 177 potentially suitable varietals, he was appointed as the first professor of viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch and later became dean of the faculty of agriculture.
His work resulted in the successful crossing of pinot noir with cinsaut, then known locally as hermitage, which culminated in the indigenous varietal Pinotage.
Professor Perold returned to Paarl to take up a position with KWV and his legacy is still maintained with a wine in their extensive portfolio named after him.
He passed away in 1941 and his grave can be found at Augusta Kleinbosch, just outside Paarl.