2011 Pinotage

March 2011This one caught my fancy … I had never heard of Pinotage and had to research it. I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I personalized this label for my martial arts instructor. Unfortunately, I cannot recall the occasion. It may have been that he was hosting a party and I simply brought it as a gift.


Kit Winexpert Selection Original Series Wine Kit — South African Pinotage
Bentonite yes
Yeast Lalvin EC-1118 (included in kit)
Sugar 2 cups
Sulfite yes
Sorbate yes
Kieselsol yes
Chitosan yes


Dissolved bentonite in 2 quarts hot tap water in fermenter, using powered stirring rod to mix.

Added juice/concentrate to fermenter. Added 1 quart hot tap water to bag, put the cap back on and shook well; pulled the cap and added to the fermenter, then topped up to 6 gallons, again mixing well.

SG was a bit low so added 2 cups white sugar to increase it.

Added the oak dust. Rehydrated the yeast and added it.

Note: I must have read the hydrometer wrong the first time — after adding 2 cups sugar and stirring well, it read 1.100! I usually aim for 1.085-1.090, so this one will be a bit hotter than normal. While it will be ok, it’s clear I wasn’t paying proper attention to detail.

SG 1.100
Racked the wine, filling a 5 gallon carboy and a 1 gallon jug. While the instructions said to wait until the SG is less than 1.010, this has been fermenting gently at 60 to 68 degrees F, and will continue to do so. There is no problem racking to secondary. 03/15/2011
SG 1.014
Stirred up sediment and racked to a 7 gallon fermenter. Using powered stirring rod, added the metabisulphite & sorbate, then the chitosan.

Racked back to carboy and jug.

Note: The SG on this one never dropped below 0.998.

SG 0.998
Racked the wine. 04/17/2011
SG 0.998
Bottled the wine. 09/08/2011
SG 0.998


Yield 28.5 bottles
Alcohol 13.9%
09/08/2011 Very tasty at bottling. I’d have good expectations for this one aging … except it won’t last long enough to age!
11/07/2011 I made this one too strong. At 13.9% alcohol it’s a butt kicker, feels like it’s 15%. Love this wine and will make it again, but it’s too strong.

This reminds me of Tony, one of my customers when I owned/operated The Winery. Tony bought Zinfandel every year and chaptalized it up to 32 brix. Damned stuff would knock down a horse. The only difference is that my wine tastes good! 🙂

05/02/2014 This wine has proven to be a great one – sad that I finished the last bottle. 🙁

I just bought another kit and will start it in a few weeks. 🙂