Vrede en Lust harvest report 2022

Written on 06/02/2022
Editor BizNews

If I can summarise the harvest season for 2022 it will definitely be great teamwork, unexpected harvest dates and exciting wines, says Karlin Nel.

*This content is brought to you by Vrede en Lust

YOLANDI BARNARD – Vrede en Lust, Simondium – Master Viticulturist MScAgric

Overall, a great harvest season at the Simonsberg property in Simondium. This year concluded around two weeks later than in 2021, finishing on April Fool’s Day.

Tractors and harvest teams were on site starting harvesting at 6am trying to finish each day’s before 2pm, the white grapes entering the cellar before 10am to ensure the grapes are cool to retain their natural acidity. Red grapes harvested for the Jess Rose´ were also brought in earlier to ensure less color extraction and less time to cool the grape must before pressing.

No rot was found in the vineyards, and we had positive even ripening of the berries with an overall higher yield than the previous year, due to a few new blocks coming into production age. However, most of the vineyard blocks had a lower yield on average compared 2021.

Petit Verdot struggled to ripen resulting in a decision to remove most of the bunches in the block to allow faster and better ripening to take place for the remaining bunches. Petit Verdot is a cultivar that produces small tight berries with a thick skin providing excellent colour, generally used in red blends.

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Our Grenache Noir blocks had beautiful bulky bunches, with great ripening after the bunch shoulders and lower third of the bunches cut off at berry set stage, some of the best Grenache we’ve seen on the farm yet.

Low rain in January and little in February lessened the need for irrigation, heatwaves during the weekends in February helped decrease the ripening period and improved the quality of the grapes with the following cooler weekdays.

New 3 hectares of varied plantings from approximately 5 years ago came into production this year with a further 2 Ha joining next year while 3,3 Ha Cabernet Sauvignon had their last harvest, all part of our intensive replanting plan.

One 1,5 Ha block of Grenache Noir will be planted this year, with another 3 Ha of different cultivars planned to be planted in 2023.

ANNETTE HUMAN – Casey’s Ridge, Elgin – Master Viticulturist MScAgric

The season started very cold and wet, we received rain every week up to December ranging from 15-30mm. This cold and wet weather delayed bud burst especially in the early ripening cultivars. This also led to increased pressure for diseases and we had to adapt our programme accordingly to ensure the production of healthy grapes.

We thought the picking season was going to be 2 weeks late due to a colder than usual Spring, however a warm December with 3 heatwaves led to an acceleration of veraison. We had a dry ripening period which was great in terms of sour rot prevention, due to this all the Riesling vineyards flourished and we produced 5 tons/ha more than in 2021 in excellent quality. 

Overall the fertility of all the blocks were on par but with lighter bunch weights recorded. In Elgin we make our final harvest decisions according to physiological ripening, acids, pH and the weather predictions.

If I can summarize the harvest season for 2022 it will definitely be great teamwork, unexpected harvest dates and exciting wines. Harvest is hard work for everyone, many early mornings for Yolandi and Annette’s vineyard teams and Etienne the owner co-ordinating proactively with late nights for our cellar teams.

We took in a total of 672 tons of grapes. Our first batch of Chardonnay for bubbles came in on the 25th of January and we only concluded harvest on the 1st  of April with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Currently most of our red wines are still undergoing malolactic fermentation and we are starting to stabilize our white wines.

We are busy with a new Pinot Noir Project that we are very excited about, looking at the effect of different extraction techniques including punchdown vs pumpovers, wholebunch vs crushed grapes. Maturation will take place in traditional French oak barrels with the aim too see if there are any notable differences between the wines after ageing (We will keep you updated on this exciting process).

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I am very excited about our Sauvignon Blanc received from Elgin this year, the grapes were very healthy with a total of 85 tonnes. This is a very important cultivar for us, harvesting every block separately and making use of different yeasts and fermentation temperatures to add complexity to the resultant wines. At the end of fermentation the wines age on their primary lees. We try to keep each vineyard block’s grapes separate for as long as possible and just prior to bottling we will blend the best components together.

The first wine up for bottling for 2022 will be the Sarah Bubbly By Nature to allow for the second fermentation in the bottle. The blend will consist predominately of Chardonnay followed by Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. This wine will only be released in January 2023.

While we are preparing this lovely vintage for bottling and maturation, always keep in mind that Vrede en Lust’s white wines are mostly from the cooler climate area in Elgin. The cooler the terroir the longer the wines can take to unfurl and show their true flavours, rewarding the patient. We produce these wines in a style that is perfect for ageing but can be broached when initially launched at the Cellar Door.

From the cellar team at Vrede en Lust, a huge thanks to all for another great harvest season and to our loyal clients, I am excited to share our new releases and upcoming vintages with you.

Vrede en Lust

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