Sunday, February 12, 2012

Harvest 2012 starts in South Africa

Harvest action in the Vilafonte vineyard

January in South Africa is a strange time in the wine industry. It is a cross roads between the relaxed business of Christmas holidays and the serious business of verasion and harvest preparation. Winemakers and viticulturists shake the cobwebs out of their ears and get busy understanding what it is that nature is going to be presenting them for harvest. (Of course the more serious Viticulture practitioners would have ignored Christmas and worked throughout the season.) It is often with trepidation that eyes are cast towards the weather report to make sure that the hint of a serious thunderstorm or a late season heatwave which may or may not upend the best prepared plans. Inevitably the best grapes come from the best vineyards and always, the best vineyards are managed by the most precise and most fastidious viticulturists. Only the best can truly make any difference when faced with the onslaught of mother nature.

Tomorrow (February 13th) will be the first day of harvest in the luxurious Vilafonte vineyards and it is actually about 2 weeks later than usual – a frustrating delay for a wine growing team obsessed with detail. The harvest is looking excellent with a greater number of berries in our test panels indicating an average to small berry size, but a potentially larger harvest of high-quality grapes. It will be a 4am start tomorrow morning and I, along with my entire team, are excited and nervous at the same time.

The harvest started at Warwick Wine Estate last Wednesday with the early harvest of some beautiful Sauvignon Blanc that will eventually become the Warwick 'Professor Black''`sauvignon Blanc – our well known standard bearer that is occupying a lot of our attention at the moment. Early indications are good and I was able to taste the first rich, sweet, ripe juice straight from the jaws of our brand new 'uber-fancy' grape press imported just-in-time from France. Delicious. There is so much more to come in the annual dramatic episode that we call harvest – stay tuned. I will do my best to find some time to keep you posted.