Rounding up the 2022 harvest
What can I say? The 2022 harvest was undoubtedly an exciting affair, constantly keeping us on our toes. And we are keeping up the pace as we take in our final grapes for 2022 over the next two weeks. To round up the harvest, this bounty will include Mourvèdre grapes from Darling and Grenache and Shiraz from the Breedekloof.
No harvest is ever the same, and one always look back to reminisce the learnings as harvest nears the end. So, what can I take from 2022? I must admit it was a very interesting harvest due to size versus quality. In my opinion, it can easily rank as one of the smallest Stellenbosch harvests in history, especially on Croydon Vineyard Estate. Although we had a very wet year (and we are always grateful for every drop of rain we receive), we also had a very cold spring.
One expects the soil to warm up during springtime, facilitating vine production after the winter and coaxing the vine into its growing cycle. But, alas, the cold spring, as mentioned, inhibited this process which most certainly added to smaller yields.
October and November brought a huge gust of wind during flowering, blowing many of these delicate flowers off. Naturally, this also impacted the number of grapes produced by the vines. In short, this sums up my thoughts as to why we see a smaller crop than in previous years. As the older generation would say, “that’s farming for you, son.”
Everybody talks about harvest and what happens afterwards in the cellar. However, once all the grapes are in and fermentation is completed, it is time for a crucial part of the process: maturation. All our red wines will undergo a second fermentation called malolactic fermentation (also referred to as malolactic conversion). This process converts malic acid to lactic acid. Malic acid has a much harder, tart taste (imagine green Granny Smith apples), and the conversion adds a softer, richer flavour that also reflects in the body of a wine.
Once this process is completed, we will store the wines away in vessels of choice (including barrels, cement tanks, amphoras, flex tanks and stainless-steel tanks – depending on the style of wine we want to create) until the wines are ready to be blended or bottled.
I have to round up my musings by telling you about my latest Bizoe in Cape Town excursion. I had the opportunity to visit one of the city’s newest restaurants called One Park and paired our Bizoe Wines with selected items on their menu. One Park is situated in Park Road, Gardens, and will soon be known as a firm favourite among food and wine lovers. So, cheers to an incredible new restaurant and the fantastic people involved – especially following a challenging time for this industry. So please do yourself a favour and visit them. I, for one, will diarize a second visit as soon as the next two weeks of harvest is wrapped up!