CLIMATE AND WINE
One of the primary factors influencing the ripening process is the climate. “Sunlight and temperature warmth are vital to the physiological functions of the grapevine (such as photosynthesis).But when you experience excessive heat waves the vine enters a type of ‘survival mode.’ Less resources are directed towards the ripening and development of the grapes .Therefore the occurrence of heat waves we have been experiencing this year in the growing season, particularly as it nears harvestime, has caused sugars in grapes to jump as acids fall dramatically. Therefore your tannins and phenolic compounds may not be optimal ripe.”
Rolanie Lotz (senior winemaker) said that they could not just rely on normal analytical methods. We had to go in the vineyards to see how the drought affected the crop.
The challenge for a winemaker under these conditions is to ensure top quality fruit, which come from a good understanding between vineyard manager and winemaker. Going into the vineyard, tasting the fruit and looking at the general condition of the vine, as well as the canopy, has allowed Rolanie and the team to make more accurate decisions as when the fruit should be harvested.
“I think the general appearance of the vineyard has been good, experiencing no vineyard diseases.”
WATER AND WINE
Saving water is a serious talking point while the Western Cape is gripped in its worst drought ever – something that also presented new challenges to Rhebokskloof’s winemaking team.
“While we are experiencing drought and a water shortage the ripening of the fruit was later this year. Chardonnay was picked from 1st February this year compared to between 10 and 16 January in 2017. This could be due to frequent rainfall in October and November, as well as cooler weather up to the end of November,” explained André Rousseau, Rhebokskloof’s Viticulturist.
QUALITY OF GRAPES
About the quality of the grapes our winemaker said: “The berries were smaller. The concentration was higher and I expect more aroma and flavour. I also expect riper and fuller wines.”
“This year we will be relying heavily on our past experience of the vineyards as well as our handling of the grapes in the cellar.”
PEOPLE & WINE
This will be our women winemaking duo Rolanie Lotz and Karin Louw’s 12th harvest at Rhebokskloof.