So far, like you all know, the year 2020 will be remembered for a very long time. Covid – 19 in many ways reflected all of us. We however prefer not to talk about this that much but rather focus on something more positive – Harvest 2020.
After a very challenging 2019 vintage we were very optimistic about the vintage of 2020. We had a good winter leading up to the vintage with good winter rains and also some good cold units which is very necessary to get the plants in a good “resting” state of mind. Budding in Spring looked good and even our problem “budding” child Chardonnay was showing promise. We did not have too much disease threat in flowering and the months of October and November was dry and luckily did not put too much pressure on our vineyard team. We have been doing organic viticulture since 2000 and with 20 years of experience our viticulture team is in a league of its own. The attention to detail and work they put in no matter what mother nature threw at them is amazing. For anyone still saying that it’s impossible to farm organically in Stellenbosch we just like to remind them that it’s been 20 years and counting.
Time frame wise everything happened very much on time with each varietal “behaving” like it should and no really late bloomers or early bloopers to talk about. We quickly also realized that we will not have a situation where everything ripens at once and the cellar was empty and well prepared for the harvest. We started with Chenin blanc and from the get go you could see that looking at ripeness level and analysis that we are in for something special. January was cool and had very cold nights for us and that made for lower sugars and higher acidities with better ph’s and more concentrated berries. We had almost zero rain in picking season from the beginning of February till the middle of March and by that time we were already finished harvesting and everything was slowly bubbling away with fermentation.
After Chenin blanc for Sur Lie we picked Pinotage which was about 1 week later than usual. Harvest quantities were up on previous years and colour and flavour was amazing. Standing above the open top tanks you could just see and smell perfection and we literally had so much colour that it stained our stainless steel tanks with the reds. We never had an extreme heatwave or some crazy weather alert and therefore we were never under pressure for picking or taking in grapes.
We picked earlier this year most of our reds to get a bit lower alcohols and more freshness and we actually had more time to be more “hands on” with each batch coming in. Although volumes were up quality was fantastic and we had a super fun time in harvest. The last Cabernet Sauvignon grapes came in around the 12 th of March which was one of our earlier end of harvest dates every.
Luckily all our grapes were in and pressed when Covid – 19 struck and the government put us into lockdown. So in general, tasting some wines now, after MLF and racking I can safely say that for us it was one of the best vintage volume and quality of the last 20 years. Vintage 2020 do not have stand out wines because everything is very good. Like I always say a winemaker is only as good as his worst wine this vintage has potential to rival the 2009, 2015 and the 2017 vintages and we are really excited to start putting some in the bottle. It is a brilliant vintage with both the reds and whites showing elegance, finesse and age worthiness like classic vintages do.