Silkbush Pinotage Changed Her Mind

(c) Julia Crowley, Courtesy


Pinotage is a mysterious grape in American wine culture, for now at least.  We are trying to change that by importing a bit of Pinotage from our mountain vineyards and taking the time to introduce it to wine enthusiasts. Julia Crowley, the Food and Wine Editor at Eugene (Oregon) Daily News, an award-winning blogger and a former wine shop owner has tasted a lot of wines but she admittedly did not understand Pinotage, until she tasted ours.  She tells the story in her review of Silkbush’s 2009 Pinotage.

My Thoughts on Pinotage are Forever Changed: Lion’s Drift Pinotage 2009

The first time I tried Pinotage (a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut), I was admittedly confused.  It wasn’t at all what I expected.  I was looking for specific characteristics; such as, cherries, red berries, smoke and earth.  Instead I experienced bananas, band-aids and paint – I was awfully disappointed.

Pinotage is South Africa’s signature varietal, so I had high hopes – especially since other South African wines I had tried left impressive lasting memories with their pleasant aromas, nice acidity, great balance and solid structure.  My thoughts on Pinotage went from hopeful to bleh.

My thoughts, however, were forever changed when I popped the cork on Silkbush Mountain Vineyards Lion’s Drift 2009 Pinotage.  Read More…



My 30th Trip to South Africa

Chronologically, I may not be a kid anymore, but on this beautiful May day in 2000 I felt like one: we had actually purchased a farm in Africa! That the Wabooms River (more a strong, year-round creek) was still flowing strongly behind me in late fall was very encouraging. The Wabooms rages in the winter and then becomes tame for the rest of the year. But it’s always comforting to farmers to see running water year round. Dave Jefferson

On Friday, September 14th, I’ll make my second trip of this year to the Beloved Country, and my 30th trip since April 1994, then my first trip to South Africa. If “self actualization” is being confused between work and play, being in the Western Cape is near-perfect self actualization. However, the trip from CA (10,000 miles) and the time zone changes (9 or 10, depending upon Daylight Saving status in CA) is strictly work. Continue reading “My 30th Trip to South Africa”

Pinotage: South Africa's Very Own Grape

While most noble grapes evolved in Europe over hundreds, if not thousands of years, and now have been cultivated in numerous wine growing regions of the world, Pinotage is unique. In 2009 South Africa celebrated only the 50th anniversary of the world’s first Pinotage wine commercially available; and, were it not for a fortuitous chain of events the grape would not exist at all! Eighty-seven years ago, in 1925, Professor Abraham Perold planted in his garden in Stellenbosch the hybrid seeds resulting from a crossing of Pinot Noir and Hermitage grapes He could not have anticipated that this act would forever be part of South Africa’s wine history, eventually growing to become an unique selling point around the world. Continue reading “Pinotage: South Africa's Very Own Grape”

Meet Anton Roos, Our Vineyard Manager

Our talented vineyard manager and partner, Anton Roos was raised in City of Worcester (a suburb not a farm) about 35 minutes from Silkbush. In high school, he decided that he wanted to go into grape growing and was one of the first graduates of the University of Stellenbosch’s Viticulture and Enology program in 1995.Following graduation, he worked as a Vineyard Consultant for VinPro until 1999 and the Vineyard Manager at Deetlefs Estate until he met Dave Jefferson and was hired as Silkbush’s Vineyard General Manager. He also served a Director at Wabooms Cooperative Winery from 2002 to 2012. Continue reading “Meet Anton Roos, Our Vineyard Manager”