De Wetshof Harvest 2020
Harvest 2020 will go down as one during which the vineyards experienced four seasons in one growing and ripening period. From the time the first Chardonnay buds appeared in August 2019 to harvesting of the final red varieties was completed at the beginning of March, the natural elements threw everything at us.
The bud-break and flowering phases of spring were accompanied by cool, mild conditions. Most important was that the temperatures remained consistent, leading to a balanced, even growth cycle. As summer set in, one or two hot days were experienced, but none of the energy-sapping heatwaves that put stress on the vines. The south-easterly wind played its usual role at this time of the year, blowing in cool air from the southern-most tip of Africa some 90km from De Wetshof.
Harvest began during the second week of January (!) when Chardonnay was picked for our Cap Classique.
Two weeks later, as the Chardonnay for our range of site-specific wines ripened and the picking-teams got going, the clouds gathered and the heavens opened bringing lashings of rain – one part of De Wetshof received over 60mm of precipitation in a four-day period. Harvesting was thus a stop-start affair due to intermittent showers. Fortunately the skies turned blue, the sun shone and picking commenced at a frenetic pace. For weeks the cellar and harvest teams worked to full capacity. This happens when 70% of your crop is Chardonnay and the variety and the picking window is short due to the various vineyards ripening in tandem.
While grape volumes were down, the young 2020 wines are currently showing excellent balance between acidity, pH levels and sugars. The wines tasted from tank and barrel are showing a complete structure, gorgeous palate weight and terroir-expression. The latter is important – making five different Chardonnays, each wine originating from a site-specific vineyards, De Wetshof aims to allow each of its different Chardonnays to showcase the unique features of the vineyard’s geography. This will be a year where the wines are showing these fascinating diversities clearly, up-front and tangible.
Chardonnay-lovers have a lot to look forward to.