Pinotage Day brings double the celebration for a triumphant Van Loveren Family Vineyards this year. Having just been named trophy winner for its coffee-style Pinotage wine at the auspicious Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, the celebrated farm near Robertson will feature the wine at its calendar-highlight 6th Java MTB Challenge on October 14.
Since the development of Pinotage in South Africa in the 1920s, the grape variety is now grown and enthusiastically enjoyed as a premier quality wine around the world. It was the variety too that inspired the Van Loveren Java MTB Challenge. The event, which includes a trail run, came about as a way to join Pinotage Day celebrations as well as Van Loveren’s own African Java Pinotage. The wine is so named for its smoky aftertaste reminiscent of coffee from the eponymous Indonesian island.
It was the 2017 vintage of the African Java Pinotage that took top honours at the Michelangelo Awards, announced weeks ago. The competition is highly regarded as the leading event of its kind and saw 28 judges from 27 countries assessing 1633 entries this year. Only 21 trophies were awarded.
No stranger to awards, the wine’s previous vintages have been singled out at the same event as well as the Decanter International Awards in 2016 and the 2016 Gold Wine Awards, where it received Gold.
“Doing well at Michelangelo Awards is really something because of the standard of the competition and the level of judging, so we’re very pleased to have our wine in the top spot,” says Van Loveren CEO Philip Retief. “The African Java Pinotage certainly makes a fine ambassador for the calibre of wines the Robertson valley is capable of.”
Notably, the 2017 Pinotage vintage delivered 14 tons of fruit per hectare from 11-year-old vineyards that were machine-harvested. The wine was oak matured and emerged with its signature aroma of roasted coffee beans with vibrant plum and ripe berry fruit on the palate.
For Pinotage Day, the African Java Pinotage 2017 will be on special at the Van Loveren cellar door. Buy six bottles and receive an extra bottle for free.
In addition to the opportunity to experience the home of this champion wine, the Java MTB Challenge offers entrants amazing views of the Breede River and the Robertson valley. Starting and ending at Van Loveren, the four MTB trails vary in technicality and offer riders of all fitness levels a good workout while the 10km trail run takes participants across the Breede River, through vineyards and along the Elandsberg Mountain.
Apart from the obvious wine tourism benefits, the Java MTB Challenge’s main goal is to raise funds for the local community. All proceeds are donated to beneficiaries, which traditionally include rural schools, charities and care organisations. In the past four years, over R380 000 has been raised.
It is a mutually beneficial partnership as the teachers and parents make up most of the work force at the event and are responsible for layout and marking of the routes, registration, marshalling and running food stalls and water points.
“We’re third-generation wine-lovers and first-generation of MTB enthusiasts,” says Retief of the company’s headline sponsorship. “In hosting the Java MTB Challenge, we not only have the opportunity to be involved in the development of a sport we love, but we also to raise much-needed funds for some of our local schools and charities.
“The Java MTB Challenge forms part of our Wine Tourism Development plan and it is a privilege to receive visitors at Van Loveren and provide them with a quality experience and enjoy a glass of African Java Pinotage wine.”
Van Loveren is owned by the Retief family, which has farmed the land on the banks of the Breede River since 1937. Its portfolio includes amongst others the Christina hand-crafted single vineyard wines; the Van Loveren premium wines; Papillon sparkling wines; the Rhino Run conservation range; Four Cousins everyday drinking wines; and, the Tangled Tree eco-focused range.