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All events that are remembered and preserved in some authentic form constitute the historical record of an event. The history of Pinotage cannot be told without mentioning its lineage of pioneers, namely the likes of Abraham Izak Perold, CT de Waal, Duimpie Bayly and Beyers Truter. History will always matter; it is how legends are born. 

Twenty-five years ago, the Pinotage Association launched the ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Awards, driving excellence and quality by creating awareness, researching, and changing perceptions of Pinotage. 

“For Pinotage to be excellent, it requires attention to detail. Pinotage takes longer to master than any other varietal and it needs meticulous planning. When you get it right though, it’s exceptionally versatile,” says Truter, chairperson of the Pinotage Association.

The association set to work, gearing towards an optimistic future for Pinotage. The rise of this varietal was powered by passion and enabled by a strong partnership with ABSA. Their unwavering support and industry expertise meant this local varietal could reach its full potential.

Read more about excellent Tulbagh wines here.

ABSA states that it has been a great joy to see the success of Pinotage over the years. From something that started as an experiment in 1925, we now see more and more top wine estates producing excellent-quality Pinotage that gets recognised across the world.

While its origins were humble, Pinotage today has been elevated to an exceptional expression, one that entices, pairs, ages and earns respect.

Pinotage in numbers

As of 2021/22, Pinotage is the seventh most planted grape varietal, with over 6 570ha total area under Pinotage vines. Both the local and international appetite for Pinotage is growing. According to the latest stats from the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS), the future of Pinotage is optimistic. (Total domestic litres: 4 611 590, total international litres: 19 969 571).

Percentage in wine regions

  • Klein Karoo: 0,5%.
  • Northern Cape: 0,6%.
  • Cape South Coast: 1%.
  • Worcester: 6,2%.
  • Olifants River: 8,3%.
  • Robertson: 11,6%.
  • Breedekloof: 13,5%.
  • Stellenbosch: 18,2%.
  • Paarl: 19,6%.
  • Swartland: 20,4%.

The awards

The ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Awards is an annual competition held to celebrate the premium Pinotage wines of South Africa. The competition was launched in 1997 with the intent to improve the quality of Pinotage. ABSA is a proud sponsor of the Pinotage Association and has since enjoyed a solid collaboration over the past 25 years. Today, ABSA remains the proud sponsor of the annual awards and is committed to its relationship with the association.


Stylistically, Pinotage has elicited strikingly different opinions and preferences, which concluded that different styles need to be embraced. “At the same time, fine Pinotage will always be prudent of terroir and won’t be chasing trends,” says Samarie Smith, 2022 panel convener. This year, the ABSA Top 10 finalists reflect this – with Stellenbosch flaunting six, Durbanville three, Swartland three, Voor-Paardeberg two, and Paarl two, with the Tulbagh, Wellington and Bottelary areas also being represented in the line-up.
A special thank you and acknowledgement to the 2022 judges: Samarie Smith, Fred Viljoen, Solly Monyamane, Etienne Louw and Jacques Steyn. This panel of experienced and respected judges have contributed to the success of the 2022 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage finalists. Watch the video here:

Movers and shakers

There were several movers and shakers this season. The association congratulates those winemakers, industry icons and ambassadors. Please note in some instances of our ABSA Top 10 finalists, the winemaker is represented by the current winemaker at the estate.
2022 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Finalists

Beeslaar Pinotage2020StellenboschAbrie Beeslaar
Beeslaar Pinotage2019StellenboschAbrie Beeslaar
Beyerskloof Winemakers Reserve Pinotage2018StellenboschAnri Truter
Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage2020StellenboschAnri Truter
De Grendel Amandelboord Pinotage2019DurbanvilleCharles Hopkins
Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve2016DurbanvilleThys Louw/Juandre Bruwer
Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve The Promenade Pinotage2019DurbanvilleWilhelm Coetzee
Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage2020BreedekloofGerhard Swart
Kanonkop Pinotage2019Simonsberg-StellenboschAbrie Beeslaar
Neil Ellis Bottelary Hills Pinotage2018BottelaryWarren Ellis
Survivor Terroir Pinotage2020SwartlandBen Snyman
Survivor Pinotage Reserve2020SwartlandBen Snyman
Brink Family Vineyards Pinotage2019SwartlandDewald Huisamen
Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage2016TulbaghAdriaan Jacobs
Simonsig Redhill Pinotage2019StellenboschMichael Malan
Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage2019Voor-PaardebergMatthew Copeland
Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage2018Voor-PaardebergMatthew Copeland
Wellington Wines La Cave Pinotage2019WellingtonFrancois van Niekerk/Daniel Slabbert
Windmeul Reserve Pinotage2019PaarlAbraham van Heerden/Michael Kotze
Windmeul The Legend Collection Pinotage2020PaarlAbraham van Heerden/Michael Kotze

Vintage Class 2022

The Vintage Class category, open exclusively to Pinotage wines that are ten years or older, has been established to showcase how well Pinotage ages. This class demonstrates that top Pinotage wines are fulfilling their promise of great maturation potential. By highlighting age-worthy Pinotage wines, the Vintage Class further advances the appeal of this uniquely South African grape.

The future of this category is in the process of an exciting enhancement and will be announced soon.

Entries for the class are steadily increasing since the inception of the category in 2017. With a total of 74 entries since the inception of the competition, all wines are representative of Pinotage’s exceptional ageing ability, which is why the association encourages producers to enter this category.

This year boasts five finalists, namely Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2011, Hill & Dale Pinotage 2009, Lanzerac Pinotage 2001, Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Pinotage 2012 and Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2012.

The Pinotage Association congratulates all the 2022 finalists and wishes each the best of luck for the upcoming awards. Winners will be announced on 30 August 2022. – Press release, The Pinotage Association