Harvest 2014 is upon us, and an excited Donald Mouton – Fairview Vineyard Manager – shares his thoughts and predictions on this year’s harvest.
“Last year saw above average rainfall in the area. The average rainfall over the past 17 years has been 550ml, and last winter saw a particularly high reading of 680ml. Although heavy showers in October affected pollination of the late cultivars, the overall crop is looking very good.
There seems to be a higher yield of Merlot and Cabernet, especially on the Stellenbosch farm. The whites, as usual, should produce good yields in 2014.
Despite the high pressure of the late rains, disease-control has been well implemented and the vineyards are looking very good. The fungicides and pesticides we have been using are all environmentally-friendly and include the likes of natural predators such as ladybirds,” he shares.
Winemaker Anthony De Jager also spares a moment to detail the current goings-on in the winery.
“We are currently getting ready to hand-pick the first grapes of the season – whole bunch-pressed Viognier for the Fairview Brut – early tomorrow morning. We will then be taking in some early Pinotagefor the La Capra PinotageRosé next week. Right now we are preparing the cellar for harvest – washing tanks, training harvest interns and the like. We also have teams out sampling all the vineyards,” he says.
We will be catching up with Donald and Anthony again soon for a detailed harvest report.
Amongst all of those typical wine words that tend to get thrown around, you often hear references to trellised vines vs bushvines and talk about un-irrigated vineyards. It is fairly straightforward to understand what these terms mean, but what relevance do they actually have to the wine at the end of the day?
Here’s a quick, simple look at The Beacon Shiraz, one of our premium single vineyard wines, which provides a bit of insight into an aspect of why this is important. Read More
One of the great added benefits of harvest time on the farm is the mid-morning ritual of warm, freshly baked mosbolletjies.
Mosbolletjie is an Afrikaans name for a small bread made using the newly fermenting grape juice, or must. This delicious little bread has a hint of sweetness and a hint of spiciness and is great with a good cup of coffee.
The Goatshed bakery makes mosbolletjies throughout the harvest, using the fresh must from the Fairview cellar. They use the must from various different grapes and have found that Shiraz and Pinotage give a particularly tasty character. This is why these guys are sometimes bright purple inside!
The Goatshed’s mosbolletjies are available in the Fairview tasting room, but usually sell out before lunch! So call ahead if you would like to get your hands on some!
With a couple of weeks left of harvest 2010, and rather strange thunderstorm conditions outside, Fairview winemaker Anthony de Jager gave me his thoughts on the harvest to date.
As I mentioned in one of the videos that we did prior to the harvest, we had a really good ripening period and lead up to the harvest. The end of January and beginning of February was also cool and moderate, so the grapes had plenty of time for steady ripening.
The harvest started very smoothly and we began to bring grapes in during the last week of January. This year we decided to make a conscious effort to try and bring grapes in a little earlier, as we are very aware of the alcohol levels in South African wines, and the pressure to bring them down to reasonable levels. A concerted effort in the vineyard meant that the earlier grapes were showing good phenolic ripeness at harvest, with sugars at around 22 degrees balling. Read More
The ABSA Top Ten Pinotage is one of the most highly regarded local competitions in South Africa and one which we enter each year, with Pinotage being an important variety within our portfolio. The latest results (2008) saw Fairview Primo Pinotage 2007 announced as one of the Top 10. ABSA do a lot to promote Pinotage and their efforts are to be applauded. As a part of this, we yesterday hosted a group of media and invited ABSA guests for a tasting and discussion about Fairview followed by a lunch at our Goatshed restaurant. Charles hosted the group and took the opportunity to highlight the flexibility and opportunity presented by Pinotage as well as some other interesting varieties that we have been working on. We also opened a bottle of 1975 Fairview Pinotage which showed very well, still showing good acidity and soft tannins, with enough fleshy fruit flavours to provide balance. But I’m hoping to put together a tasting of old wines in the coming months, so we can chat more about that then. Read More
Well, I have just returned from a few weeks of leave (the first time that I have been off at this time of year for quite while) so would like to officially wish our readers all the best for 2009. Although there are some obvious challenges around at the moment, we always appreciate your support and are looking forward to a positive and productive year ahead. Read More