The 2022 Winter was slightly warmer than the previous years and we also saw less rainfall. Keeping all of this in mind our farm manager (Christiaan Loots) started to implement minimum tilling in the vineyard, packing more mulch in between the vines, adding biochar and experimenting with interesting cover crops.
All with the aim of improving the soil health by promoting more beneficial microbial growing conditions, retaining moisture, keeping the soil cooler and adding natural forms of nitrogen. In the last 3 years he has taken the percentage of carbon matter from 1% in some blocks to 4%.
With the slightly warmer Winter conditions we were surprised by an earlier budburst as well as flowering. We were lucky to not experience strong winds during the growing period which helped the vines obtain an even fruit set.
The growing season took an interesting turn during the second week of December with heavy rainfall. The team had to be on a close watch of the vineyard to make sure that we avoid any mildew.
Verasion was a week or so earlier and even due to the additional rainfall. We assumed that the harvest would then also start earlier but with the rest of the growing season being moderate to cool we only really got into the full swing of harvest from the second week of February.
The harvest was complicated a bit more with heavy rain falling toward the end of February. Luckily by this time we had already harvested all our white varietals and only had a few blocks of red left. We waited a week for the vineyard to utilize the excess water but it did help us to achieve good phenolic ripeness on the later red varietals. In the end a blessing from Mother nature!
Interesting enough we saw more bunches this year but smaller berries. The whites were up a little bit in yield and the reds were similar to 2022. The quality looks great with a lot of concentration and optimal acid levels.
You can view our harvest report online here.