Every year, we eagerly await to see how harvest unfolds. No two vintages are the same, and where Mother Nature is concerned – you can prepare and plan to your very best ability, but she can throw in a curveball at any time. Luckily, our team is ready for whatever she throws at them in 2022. Ampie is heading up the Estate vineyard management with support from our viticulturist consultant, as well as viniculture consultants. This year, we also have Alessio helping out for harvest and are so excited for the extra hands, heart and helpful guidance.
Alessio filled us in on the current status in the vineyards:
The Harvest this year is going to be later than last year. This time last year, we were be planning to pick within the next week or so. This year however, the reds have only just started to go into veraison (when the berries turn from green to red). Summer arrived a little later in the Cape, but things are starting to heat up with some days clocking in at over 40°C. With the rise in temperatures, we are expecting ripening to move forward fairly quickly from this point on.
While the grapes are ripening, we are fine tuning the vines and trying to achieve the perfect balance of airflow around the bunches and leaves, light penetration and protecting the sensitive berries from getting sunburnt.
Airflow is important because it prevents fungi from taking hold which thrive in damp conditions. With the warm temperatures, combined with the sporadic unseasonal rainfall that we have seen in the past few weeks, this is a real risk and needs careful attention.
Light penetration is key to the grapes ripening evenly across the vineyard block, as well as the vine photosynthesising to keep the vine fed. If we don’t allow for enough light, even at high sugar levels, the wines can have a greenness to them which we want to avoid.
On the other hand too much light can lead to the berries getting sunburnt or cracked, which leaves them vulnerable to fungi, as well as causing berries to drop off the bunches. We want to avoid this and so each vine is tended to by hand to ensure the grapes remain protected.
VINES TO WATCH
The white field blend block is always exciting and was first harvested only last year. Each vintage will allow for the climate of the growing season to shape which vines thrive and which vines struggle in this mixed block. We look forward to seeing which cultivars will look the best when it is time to harvest, and how they will all come together in the bottle.
The new red field blend has burst into life – with no grapes this year, the vines are being allowed to grow freely. This is their job for 2022. Over the next season, we want to see these vines grow deep route systems to survive the strong winds and high temperatures they will be exposed to in the future.
Moving forward, we will keep a close eye on sugar levels in the grapes to ensure that we pick at the optimum ripeness and looking forward to see what this harvest holds.