If there ever was a year which tested our knowledge of our vineyards and how they react to different climatic conditions, then 2010 was it! The constant changes in the climatic conditions kept Christiaan and me on our toes. We had to adjust our strategy as conditions changed from a very wet spring, to very dry and windy conditions during summer.
Waterkloof and the surrounding Schapenberg area are known for windy conditions. We have become accustomed to the very strong south-easterly winds during late spring and the summer months, but nothing prepared us for what the Anemoi had in mind for us.
North-westerly winds pounded us during September and October, bringing almost wintery conditions with lots of rain and very cold conditions. The god of the Southeaster must have heard that we had built a new winery on the Schapenberg and was determined to test its strength. We measured winds of up to 120 kilometers per hour and at one stage the winery was swaying as if it were a ship at sea. Fun for some, very scary for the rest.
Vines always amaze me with their ability to adapt to whatever natures throws at them. They adapted to the strong winds by having smaller canopies and bearing fewer grapes. Maybe they know what is going to happen in the future, because the smaller canopy and crop help them to survive through the dry, windy summer months. Cool conditions prevailed until late February. This provided the opportunity for white and early red varietals like Merlot to ripen slowly. However, late ripening varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon suffered a bit due to the warm conditions in early March.
The white wines have good acidities and are generally a bit more open than wines from the 2009 vintage. Merlot and Syrah both show beautiful ripe flavours with fine tannins.
A year which provided us with difficult climatic conditions, gave us wines with elegance and concentration. It is, for me, a timely reminder that nature knows best and we should interfere as little as is practically possible. She has a way of providing us with the best fruit possible; we should just allow her the chance to do so.
Werner Engelbrecht (Winemaker & Viticulturist)