The great DNA mystery


Red wine grapes are green before they turn red. In South Africa, that’ll be next month for most vineyards.

All Pinotage grapes are rugby ball-shaped, while Pinot Noir berries (as we call them) are more spherical.

This is a bit of a puzzle as Pinot Noir is the understood to be the father (or the mother) of Pinotage and that’s a bit like a 1.6m dad having a 2.2m son.

Pinotage has thick-skinned grapes with masses of red colour just under the surface when they’re ripe. You can see the great dollops of colour in the wine. Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is thin-skinned and very shy on colour. Cinsaut, the other parent of Pinotage is also very thin-skinned.

Unfortunately none of us was around when the new variety was conceived in the 1920s.

So, is there a DNA lab somewhere that we can go unravel the bedroom secrets of grape varieties?


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