Overall it has been a challenging year so far for everyone, but one that is extremely promising on the wine front! From the start of harvest, the quality was of high standards and 2020 seems to be a very hopeful harvest.
Mother Nature is, however, always in control and kept us on our toes with challenges like ripening variation in vineyard blocks and within the bunches itself. This made the decision when to pick extremely complex.
For us, the harvest kicked off a week earlier than normal. Sufficient water and a moderate ripening period contributed to expectations of a somewhat larger 2020 harvest compared to 2019; however still smaller than the long-term average.
The occurrence of wind during the growing and ripening periods in certain regions contributed to smaller berries, which gave rise to lighter crops and lower juice recoveries. “Smaller berries also have greater flavour and colour concentrations, which will be reflected in exceptional quality in the wines,” Conrad Schutte, manager of the wine industry body Vinpro’s viticultural consultation services, says.
Smaller berries led to good colour and intense flavour in this year’s red wines, also reaching optimum ripeness earlier than usual.
With more water available this year, compared to the previous season, meant that we were still able to apply irrigation later within the ripening stage. This contributed to Glen Carlou processing a massive 1020 tons this year.
We saw grapes with beautiful colour, high malic acid and low pH levels in the cellar.
Viticulturist, Marius Cloete, expressed great excitement over the Chardonnay grapes – especially those from the younger vines and those from the Quartz Stone block. As he thinks back on the season, he adds that he was very impressed with the Merlot and Malbec grapes this year – stating the he thinks these will make standout wines.
Although larger volumes were compacted into a shorter time frame, the success story here was a cool, calm and experienced team making sure the quality and standards were kept high. In total 48 different vineyard sites delivered grapes for 60 different fermentation lots which were all kept separate.
With a smile, winemaker, Johnnie Calitz says “It’s still a bit early to say, but I am very optimistic about the quality of the eventual wines, expecting these to have very concentrated profiles.”
When asked which varietals he is most excited about for this vintage, he had the following to say:
“We harvested 18 different batches of Chardonnay from 15 different vineyards this year, each having a slightly different style and unique profile, which is always exciting.
The Sauvignon Blanc is fresh with tropical flavour overload, and extremely vibrant.
Our Quartz Stone harvest crop was down slightly, being the oldest vineyard on the farm, the wine shows great intensity, but still has a long way to go with 14months in barrel.
The surprise of the year is our Merlot; I think it could be one of the best we have ever produced, great colour intensity with firm tannins and lots of dark cherry fruit.
Again, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot showing great potential with some of our newly sourced vineyards over-delivering on expectations.”
Knowing Johnnie, he always has new ideas up his sleeve and he gave us a sneak-peak into something new he is making. He reveals: “We made a Natural Sweet Hanepoot, which had a longer hang-time, we intend to get more density and produce something somewhat exciting.”
As we wait in anticipation for the first release of 2020, we are excited to discover the extent of what this vintage will deliver.
We are extremely grateful for a fantastic harvest season and would like to raise our glasses to our teams in the vineyard, lead by Marius and our team in the cellar working alongside Johnnie and Phillip. Throughout the late nights and early mornings, you were always found with a smile and we know that it is because of you that we are able to celebrate another magnificent harvest season.
While you wait for the release of these 2020 vintages, why not buy some of our current vintages in our online wine store.