Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Harvest report 2013 - by Ronald Spies, Warwick Viticulturist

The 2013 growing season started out on a very good note, we had a good, cold and wet winter with enough cold units and ample rainfall, 839mm in total. We had 35% more rainfall vs. long term average (May – Sept).

The growing season started later throughout all the grape varieties, with a two to three week lag on the previous season. Pinotage and Chardonnay budded between 15-17 September. Good even bud break with strong shoot growth was the order of the day. Flowering took place between 20 October and 9 November with an average of 13 days from start to full bloom. The growing season continued throughout October and November with good growth and enough groundwater to support the vines.

Then on the 28th of November the Black Southeaster hit us with all its fury for 3 days solid. Windspeed up to 164 km/hr. was recorded around the Cape Peninsula. The wind caused massive damage around the Cape Wine lands with some vineyards totally stripped from their leaves and growing tips. The worst damage on Warwick occurred in the Pinotage Block 20.1 and also in the Sauvignon Blanc Block 24.

December started out normal but then around the 18 – 20th we got our first taste of the heat waves .Temperatures was hovering above 35 `C for about 3 to 4 days. In total we had 23 days above 30`C and 10 days above 35`C, the hottest ever recorded December in Stellenbosch in the last 48 years. We experienced minimal sunburn due to thicker canopies and the growing stage that was 2 weeks behind.

Harvest started around the first week in February when we took in about 5 tons of Chardonnay for bubbly. In the second week of February we started taking in our Pilotage, the bush vine at about 25.5 Balling .Very good crop and good quality .We continued with Chardonnay and Sav Blanc into the third week of Feb .The last week in Feb we took in more Pinotage from our trellised block, block 20.2.The first two weeks of March was dedicated to bringing in our Cab Franc blocks. The Cab blocks was next in line and we ended the harvest the week after Easter with block 14.In total we brought 270 tons into the cellar, our third biggest crop in the last decade.

We are ecstatic about the overall quality of the fruit that was brought in and can`t wait to taste the first wines of 2013.

Harvest report compiled by:
Ronald Spies - Viticulturist
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