15 Mar Fairview Red Wine Report 2019
The 2019 harvest has come to an end! After 41 years at Fairview I’ve grown accustomed to the victories and defeats that come with every harvest, but the 2019 harvest has been particularly challenging. The drought of the last few years paired with a few freakishly warm and windy days at the wrong time for optimal development of the fruit have severely affected, as previously reported, our white varietal yield and as it appears, our red varietals too.
During the mid to late 1970s, I remember South Africa experiencing a red wine shortage. My father aptly referred to it as the Red Wine Frenzy. People were driving to all wine producing parts of the country trying to get their hands on any red wine they possibly could, often to no avail. Now, although this would not easily happen today, in my opinion the 2019 harvest will be one of the lowest yielding harvests in recent memory.
Here at Fairview we are 40% down on our red wine crop. The past 4 years of drought, which has depleted the ground water in our vineyards, together with a freak heatwave that hit at the end of October severely affected the development of our fruit, particularly our well-loved Paarl Shiraz. To add insult to injury, we experienced high winds during the heatwave which was extremely detrimental to our hopes of a normal crop. After gaining Fairtrade accreditation we implemented a strict policy of growing all our own grapes with the exception of only one or two wines making it difficult to augment or supply. Thankfully though we diversified our vineyards and regions over the years which is absolutely crucial in harvest years like this one. Our cooler region farms in Darling and Stellenbosch have produced better yields than those in Paarl, although they have not hit the heights of previous years.
As with our Sauvignon Blanc, all signs point towards us not having the supply to satisfy the high demand for our Shiraz. Allocations will most likely be made to ensure that we don’t disappoint customers with regular listings and we cannot provide any guarantee as to the availability of our red wines from the 2019 harvest.Although there won’t be too much going around, I do however believe that we will see a few remarkable red wines come from this year’s harvest. The first signs are showing wines with beautifully ripe tannins, with rich, dark colors. I think we can prepare ourselves for a few big, bold and robust reds with everything seeming to bode well for some great wines.
As always, we will keep you updated as to the progress of our wines and hope to see you on the farm in a few months’ time to taste the bounty of the 2019 harvest!