Rathfinny Wine Estate

Pinot Gris or is it Pinot Blanc or is it Pinot Noir?

Now that the harvest is complete, and we look ahead to pruning it’s a fairly quiet time of year in the vineyard, which gives us time to reflect on the season just past.

One of the interesting moments of this year’s harvest was when we discovered a harlequin grape in the Pinot Gris. I have often seen a vine that has produced different coloured grapes on the same vine, and plenty of times even in the same bunch but this was the first time I’d seen different colours in the same berry!


Pinot Gris is a very close relative of Pinot Blanc having both being derived from Pinot Noir and often we see Pinot Gris fruit mutate back to Pinot Noir for a season and then the next year they are back to Pinot Gris. However, in this case, the cluster has both Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir characteristics. Upon looking closely we see one berry that is ¾ Pinot Noir and ¼ Pinot Gris.

img_7704_22338973111_oNow this isn’t a problem as all 3 varieties are genetically the same, they are just a different colour. It’s amazing to think that an Alsatian Pinot Blanc, Italian Pinot Grigio, and a Central Otago Pinot Noir all come from the same grape, genetically.

IMG_0941We have now started pruning the more difficult blocks and after Christmas we will need the help of more seasonal staff to help us prune the balance of the 250,000 vines at Rathfinny – so if you’re interested please drop me a line cameronr@rathfinnyestate.com

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