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We enter the third month of 2017 and the harvest is 90% done. I truly believe this will be one to remember, not just because in some parts it is the driest year in 65 years, but the quality – especially on the Bordeaux varieties – is astounding (at least the grapes are excellent, it is up to the winemakers now 🙂 )


Dam levels Barrydale (Top), Elgin (Bottom)


Dam levels at Theewaterskloof (34% water left)

February saw an average day temperature of about 32ºC and average night temperature of about 17ºC. Nine days the temperature soared above 35ºC, making February a very warm and dry month for the harvest.

This dry and warm weather triggered the vines early on in the season to produce a crop with small berries. When I say small, I mean SMALL. Some Cabernet Sauvignon we harvested had berries smaller than peas. This will make very concentrated wines. Despite the dry season the vines actually ripened the grapes very well and we saw physiological ripeness on the Merlot’s at 23.5-24.5 Balling. The Cabernets are on their heals at 24-25.5 Balling.


Cabernet Sauvignon


Chenin blanc planted 1978

Varieties that stood out this season was Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chenin blanc, Cinsaut, early picked Pinotage, and Viognier.

The bulk of the Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and the last bits of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots are coming in this week.

My new venture with The Blacksmith – Tremayne Smith – is going very well and I tasted the wine yesterday and I am very happy. It is gonna be a beast though! Can’t wait!


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