Harvest 2014 – the end of a fruitful season

The signs of Autumn are all around us. The vineyards are multi coloured and leaves are falling as the days get cooler.  Hard to believe that we still had grapes hanging two weeks ago. It seems almost far fetched as so much has happened since the last day of picking.

Wednesday 23/04 marks the “official” end of Harvest for the Cellar Team, when the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon tanks was pressed and the last tractor load of grape skins removed from the winery. It’s been a long season of 11 weeks in the cellar, mainly due to the difference in ripening time between our two warm climate vineyards in Simonsberg-Paarl and our cool climate vineyards in Elgin. We really appreciate the extra hang time we enjoy in Elgin.

2014 will be remembered as a challenging vintage in South Africa. Winemakers and viticulturists were kept on their toes throughout the season. Winter 2013 was very wet with 100mm of rain including major late rain storms in August and November. We even had more than 65mm of rain during the middle of harvest.  Thanks to a strict regime in the vineyard, we didn’t suffer any losses from disease and we are preliminary very satisfied with the quality of wine from the 2014 vintage. Thank goodness for the automatic grape sorting machines, as despite initial bunch selection in the vineyards we even received red grape with botrytis.

Vrede & Lust -40The bottling of Jess 2014 is scheduled and she should be ready to go to market early in June. The work does not end now, as the process of monitoring malolactic fermentation still lies ahead as well as checking all the critical control points during the next few weeks. Attention to detail is crucial at this point  requiring a lot of planning. Decisions have to be made re which wines will be blended and which wines will end up in barrel.

Total Tons: 719,42
Total Casey’s Ridge: 226,90
Total Simonsberg-Paarl: 492,50
Total White:  236 (180 Casey’s Ridge, 56 Simonsberg-Paarl)
Total Rosé: 62 (Simonsberg-Paarl)
Total Red: 422 (47 Casey’s Ridge, 375 Simonsberg-Paarl)

We crushed just over 100 tons less than last year. We significantly reduced crops, especially on the red grapes, ahead of harvest We sold off about 28 tons of Sauvignon Blanc to an Elgin winery, some Chenin Blanc to another Elgin winery and we did not buy in any grapes from any outside parties this year.

In addition we’ve spent 8 days labelling all the stock for our May Wine Club shipment – the cases will be dispatched from next week, and there are some new vintages and taste sensations to look forward to.