The Western Cape is experiencing a severe drought, however, at Glenelly we have managed well due to infrastructure which was put in place years ago. This infrastructure which helps prevent erosion, also channels surface run-off water into our dams keeping them relatively full. Earlier irrigation also played a key role in our vineyard practices during the drought this year.
With the very dry conditions fire has been an ever-present threat, but with the help of the farms, the fire department was swift to react and nip any flare-ups in the bud before they could take hold.
Veraison took place a week later this year and our budding was a little uneven. January was very hot during the day with warm nights. We began harvesting the Chardonnay a few days later than usual, on the 29th of January. We staggered the harvesting, selecting particular parcels to be picked at different times. Merlot followed in a similar manner to the Chardonnay.
We had a hail storm come through the valley on the13th of February. With only the Chardonnay harvest completed, we were still waiting for the ripening of Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
“I have never seen hail like this in the Cape in my life”. (Luke O’Cuinneagain – Winemaker)
It was the type of hail you would expect to get in Johannesburg. Thankfully we had limited damage to the vines as the path of the storm was fortunately aligned with the direction of the vine rows.
The rest of the harvest period was much cooler allowing for great ripening conditions. The crop size was marginally down by 2%, due to reduced bunch and berry size. Positive quality indications are the good extraction of colour and the great pH and acid balance. The fruit concentration is good, and we are managing to remove the wine from the skins earlier.
The vintage had its challenges, but we are looking forward to bottling fine elegant wines with great fruit and balance.