Emma and Jeremy in the vineyard

At the end of week 2, things are going really well!

All of our Pinotage from Kasteelsig in the Swartland has fermented as required  and has been pressed off to finish fermentation in barrels. The technique for making Pinotage is to ferment the grapes for about 4 – 5 days and to press them before the wine is totally dry. During fermentation we work the grapes vigorously- punching the cap down about once every 3 hours. The seeds are notoriously astringent, so it is not recommended to keep the wine fermenting for as long as one would some other varieties. We release the free run juice into older barrels without settling the juice. The pressed juice, which is richer in tannins will go into new barrels – the 2013 Guillermo Pinotage will be aged in 1/3 new barrels . The grapes were harvested at a lower sugar level than in the past few years – I am really excited by the quality of the juice.

On Thursday we harvested Sauvignon Blanc from Southern Cross farm, taking the grapes to Rheebokskloof. The grapes could not have been better- 22.8 balling, 6.4g/l acid and ph3.2. The juice was really green with the aroma of ripe figs. We picked on the right day  as Friday was unbearably hot!

However, not everything has been going to plan. After making up our Sauvignon Blanc blend for the new bottling, it was discovered that the sulphur content of the wine was too high, so we have to go back to the drawing board.  We have two new tanks to blend from so we  will be able to finish a wine which we will be happy to bottle.  We are also bottling 4 red wines next week – Guillermo Pinotage 2011,  Pictus 2011,  Madach 2011 and Stellenbosch Pinotage 2011,  a total of 2000 cases of wine – this wine will be bottle matured for 9 -12 months before it is labelled and we can begin to sell it.

We are expecting grapes on Monday and Tuesday,  Shiraz and Merlot respectively. The harvest in the Swartland is really early this year. Chris Mullineux takes Shiraz off the same block as our Shiraz for Pictus is harvested.  He harvested on Thursday- this is about 2 weeks earlier than last year.

It is so strange to think that we are on the home straight with the harvest, and we are still at the beginning of Feb.  We had over 550mm of rain during the past 12 months- as opposed to 350 or so the previous year. This has made a significant difference to the vines. They have much more leaf canopy and are just so much more efficient at ripening grapes this year.