Susan’s harvest summary

WEATHER CONDITIONS (AND CONSEQUENCES):

WINTER 2008: Cold and wet. And wet. And wet.

SPRING 2008: Long! Had wet and cool weather up until October and November.

NOVEMBER 2008 – JANUARY 2009: A cooler pre-season than previous vintages.

HARVEST 2009: In general 10 days behind on most reds. Our whites – Chardonnay and Viognier came in on the same time as previous years – first proper crop coming in from Elgin – only started picking those whites in March!

HARVEST 2009:

CHALLENGES (IN VINEYARD AND CELLAR): Challenges in the cellar: SPACE!!! First time ever for VNL cellar to run on full capacity. Processed just over 500 tons (80 white!) Will definitely have to look at getting more fermenters (and a few more friendly toward white wine making, as everything in this gorgeous cellar was more aimed at red wine making!)

Transport from Elgin to the Vrede en Lust winery was a bit of a logistical challenge due to the two hour drive from Caseys Ridge to the winery. Simonsberg-Paarl red grapes and whites grapes from Elgin had to be processed at virtually the same time!

POSITIVES: Beautiful white grapes from Elgin, turning into promising wines. Getting to know all the blocks on VnL and our Ricton property after 3 years and being able to determine where my top quality grapes are coming from.

BEST-PERFORMING WHITE AND RED VARIETIES: Viognier & Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay crop on Elgin very young, but managed to fill up 5 barrels…. On the red side the Shiraz,  Merlot and Malbec looks best at this stage.

LESS WELL-PERFORMING WHITE AND RED VARIETIES: Cabernet Sauvignon – developing an honest reflection on our plantings and definite difference in quality in blocks resulting in better insight.

We have ripped out two blocks of Cabernet post vintage. Really extremely frustrating to see a total of 10 acres planted in 1997 riddled with leafroll virus from supposedly ‘clean planting material’ as certified by the KWV. In any other industry there would be a very serious class-action legal case brought against the KWV and the nurseries. Why not in the wine industry ?

CROP SIZE – OVERALL AND VARIETIES WITH SIGNIFICANT LOWER OR HIGHER YIELDS: Most yields down + – 5% – still busy with all the final statistical calculations on this side!

OVERALL QUALITY (WHITES AND REDS): Very happy with 1st proper crop from Elgin – watch this space!!!

Sauvignon Blanc first vintage – only wine of origin Elgin, not just Western Cape, so very excited about that. Reds off to barrel and MLF in process – some definite beauties to work with!

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