Scientists in South Africa are warning that the country is in danger of being overrun by a new, more dangerous strain of Pinotage.
Flights are being cancelled and the country is being shut down in an attempt to get a grip on the new variant.
According to Dr Flopsi Mopsi N’Kottontale, chief scientist at the Centre of Varietal Information of Durban (COVID) the fast-spreading new strain has already destroyed tens of thousands of palates in the Cape.
The test tube strokers say that, without drastic measures, there is a very real chance that it could engulf the entire country.
‘We don’t think that the new variant of Pinotage is necessarily any more fatal than the old one,’ said N’Kottontale, ‘though obviously you wouldn’t want to come into contact with either of them.
‘The problem is that it is harder to spot, so it can find its way into Cape Blends very easily.’
Common symptoms of Pinotage include coughing, spluttering, weary disappointment and high levels of feverish anger. Though in more vulnerable social situations it can kill the mood in a matter of minutes.
South Africa’s R (Retching) number has been climbing alarmingly since the detection of New Variant Pinotage and scientists are concerned that this version might be even more resistant to good winemaking than the original.
‘We have been throwing oak at it like crazy, but to no avail,’ said Dr N’Kottontale. ‘It still tastes like nail varnish wrapped in baby sick.’
Some travellers are known to have transported the variety round the globe in their Duty Free, and governments worldwide are asking anyone who has been to the country to quarantine until their luggage has been tested by teams of Cape Wine Masters.
Any signs of misplaced varietal crossings will be destroyed.
At home, the Pretoria government recently took the drastic step of banning all alcohol sales in an attempt to get the virulent new strain under control.
‘We realise that this will cause untold misery for millions, and probably kill our wine industry,’ said President Cyril Hamsamosa. ‘But it’s a sacrifice that we’re happy for those guys to make.
‘We’ve already given the world biltong. We cannot have Pinotage on our conscience as well.’