Tumara wines are produced at the Bellevue Estate, which released the world's first commercial Pinotage in 1953. Now, the over-50-year-old vines continue to produce award-winning Pinotage for fourth-generation Proprietor/Cellar Master Dirkie Morkel. Approximately 30 kilometers northeast of Cape Town, Bellevue has been located in the Bottelary hills - the perfect place to produce world-class red wines since 1701. The estate's plantings are comprised of 190 hectares featuring over 14 grape varieties, mostly red, and include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Pinotage, and Petit Verdot.
Prof A.I. Perold, known as the father of Pinotage, completed the development of this South African grape at Elsenburg. He made a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage to obtain the ultimate success he was looking for. Prof Perold apparently left no notes to explain his choice of cultivars, but legend would have it that he was attempting to combine the quality of Pinot Noir and the production capacity of Hermitage.
In the early 1950s, P.K. Morkel was attempting to obtain Gamay to add to the Bellevue vineyards. Unable to find any, he approached the Stellenbosch Agricultural College at Elsenburg for advice on possible alternative varieties to plant. The new variety developed by Prof Perold was suggested. At that stage Pinotage had only been planted on a trial basis by Elsenburg.
In 1953, P.K. Morkel took the bold step, along with Paul Sauer of Kanonkop, to plant this unknown variety on his farm. His boldness paid off, when in 1959 his wine from this almost unknown variety, Pinotage, took the General Smuts trophy, for the best wine at the Cape Wine Show.