Spring has eventually sprung in the western Cape, and with-it new life in our vineyards.
It has been one of the coolest and wettest winters for many years, and many areas of the Western Cape have been subjected to episodes of major flooding. Vineyards too have been flooded as dams failed and rivers burst their banks. We have watched in horror as friends have reported catastrophic damage.
But we have been blessed in that the abundance of rain has helped our unirrigated vineyards, and we have been spared from the flooding and destruction. I visited two of our vineyards to access the condition and see if there is any damage. What greeted me was verdant beautiful vineyards with vines pushing their new buds, and bright new green life oozing from each vine. It is really exciting and makes one think about beautiful healthy grapes, and the wine they will produce.
Kasteelsig in the Swartland, where we harvest Syrah and Mourvèdre, and some of the Pinotage for Guillermo has already had over 1100mm of rain already this year. There has never been more then 700mm a year in the 15 years we have bought grapes from Kasteelsig. The ground is saturated. This bodes well for the next few seasons. Topsoil here is very deep, and rich in red clay, and the roots snake down far into the earth. Budding is late here as saturated soils are cool.
Welgugund in Wellington has also had copious rain, more even than Kasteelsig. The soil here is decomposed granite of a clay substrata and is much better drained. The Chenin block is in an old riverine area and holds water better. It all looks very promising here.
Lastly, I had a chat with Anton Roos, the manager at Silk Bush in Breedekloof, and this is what he has to say: “We are ok, not at as much rain as other places. We have had 940mm for the year, it is enough now! It must dry out. I think we can expect a smaller harvest, smaller bunches, and less berries per bunch because of the roots not getting warm enough to grow properly.”
So, overall we are looking at a smaller crop of small bunches (small, concentrated grapes) supported by plenty of leaves to encourage good ripening….hopefully an outstanding vintage.