This harvest season resulted in a great vintage, with the wines showing a lot of promise. The harvest gave us opulent reds with good extract and great tannin structures, and for the whites, it offered wines of full body and flavour.
Above-average winter rainfall as well as sufficient cold units ensured that the vines had the perfect hibernation period and a good accumulation of reserves. Even budding occurred during the springtime, leading to homogenous shoot growth which is great for the quality of the grapes. The winter rains continued late into the spring, making disease control tricky, and we had to be on top of our game to prevent any occurrence of mildew.
In November we had a huge thunderstorm that fixed nitrogen into the soil, which added to the vigour of the vines. Good canopy management was needed to prevent diseases and aid wine quality through light penetration. December was cool, with a few warm days helping to speed up ripening after such a slow, cool ripening season.
A cool January and early February delayed final ripening by two weeks, and the first Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes were packed with flavour and high natural acidities. From middle to late February we experienced two heatwaves, and to save the bunches from the negative effects of the heat and sun (the loss of flavour and acidity), we chose not to break out leaves on the white cultivars. We prioritised flavour – and waited for the flavour to return after the heat. This led to slightly higher alcohol levels and lower acid levels on the white wines, which had to be adjusted and raised in the cellar. The result was full-bodied and flavoursome whites that are showing a lot of promise.
A good berry set and even ripening benefited the red cultivars; the cool season aided phenolic ripeness and the heatwaves resulted in the raising of sugar levels to a satisfactory level for harvesting at the right time. With the early cultivars (Pinotage) ripening later than usual, the heatwaves in February pushed the later cultivars (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) forward, and we had a cellar brim-full of both early and late cultivars, which caused some logistical issues to overcome! Thanks to a concerted team effort, we managed to pull it off.
All the wines, both whites and reds, are now safe in the tank or barrel, and the work continues as we monitor them closely. We expect more positive developments to come with this vintage, so watch this space as we share updates on these beautiful 2022 estate wines.