The end of another vintage at Laibach. This vintage will just be remembered by one word: drought!
The winelands and the Western Cape are in the middle of a three year drought with rainfall not nearly reaching the long term average. Dam levels are very low and water restrictions are an average way of life. Tourism is struggling as well because of this and therefore there are less buyers of top end quality wine. It is very much a snowball effect and it is in general a worrying time.
Luckily we are blessed with some amazing terroir and therefore we were lucky that our yields were up for vintage 2018. After a very dry and warm pre winter (2017) we luckily had some young vineyards starting to bear fruit just at the right time. The deep clay soils do not just have a great water retention but are also much cooler. We also experienced very cold nights and a bigger drop in temperature between day and night. This helped with colour and flavour development and also with a slower ripening. All critical for quality production.
Harvest started again around the first week in February with some Pinotage for MCC. The harvest was not so cramped and spread out nicely which reduced the pressure in the cellar. We finished taking in all the grapes before middle of March which is normal for Stellenbosch.
In general the Reds are looking better than the Whites. Colours and flavours are amazing and especially Merlot was the stand out grape. This is great news for a winery like ours which is very focused on this varietal. Some of the young block Chenin harvested before the little February heatwave was also showing some promise. A very good vintage indeed and it will be interesting to see how the reds will age.