The Paarl wine region experienced similar climatic conditions as The Swartland during the 2022-2023 growing season. The region had a very dry and warm winter, followed by a moderate spring and summer. Late summer rains during December saved the crops, and additional summer rain pushed the region through to a great harvest for 2023.
However, the region also faced a significant challenge from powdery mildew, which is a common disease in warm and humid conditions. Two significant high humidity spells during mid-December and the end of January/start of February proved a challenge for growers, especially those who were not in tune with the weather and those that might have taken chances with their crop protection programs due to the dry and moderate climate.
Timely irrigation, where possible and early in the growing season, was also essential in ensuring that the vines remained healthy and productive during the warm and dry conditions. The use of canopy management techniques, such as leaf removal and shoot thinning, also helped to ensure that the vines remained balanced and healthy throughout the season.
Overall, the 2022-2023 growing season in the Paarl wine region was challenging due to high disease pressure from powdery mildew and the initial dry spring/summer that kept everyone on the edge of their seats. However, the resilience and adaptability of the region’s growers ensured a great harvest, with high-quality fruit. The Chenin blancs looked especially good, and Grenache blanc and noir is showing more and more potential in this region. I would definitely recommend planting more of this variety to bushvine here!