Harvesting the Fruit of our Labour

– News Article

What to Expect?

The 2021 wine grape harvest is imminent and all indications are that it would be a healthy harvest, according to our talented viticulturist Isabel Teubes. To find out more, read on…

1. What’s your expectation of the 2021 harvest?

We’re expecting top quality fruit and higher yields, compared to the previous few years during which the Western Cape experienced severe drought. We received good rainfall during the winter months and growing season leading up to this vintage. The overall feeling is that the 2021 harvest will deliver healthy, well-balanced fruit, showing concentrated flavours and lively acidity, and amongst the reds, deep, dense colours.

2. Which vineyards or areas that you source from, do you think will deliver the best quality fruit and why? Which ones are you most excited about?

We obtain grapes from a very carefully chosen network of supplier growers across the Western Cape, giving our cellar the first pick of outstanding quality fruit with vibrant, concentrated and layered flavours. I reckon I’m most excited about the fruit we’ll be sourcing from cooler climate vineyards in the Darling area. Cooler climate vineyards offer nuanced flavour and purity of fruit character.

3. Tell us about innovation in the vineyards. Are you using any special techniques, equipment or technology?

Apart from using precision farming technology to improve the efficiency of fruit ripeness monitoring, we’ve also in recent years invested in sophisticated water consumption measurement tools to calculate precisely the impact of our cover crops planted in and amongst the vineyards, the wider application of drought-resistant rootstocks, the greater use of water-stress deficit irrigation, the use of pressure bombs to measure leaf water respiration, the move towards night irrigation, as well as the introduction of several climate-resilient Mediterranean varietals. Many of these measures have been in place for well over a decade but to assess the efficacy of our initiatives required that we begin measuring with greater accuracy. We’ve determined that in some instances we’ve achieved water savings of as high as 40%. That’s why Nederburg was granted WWF Conservation Champion status in 2020 – something we’re very proud of.

4. Have you recently established any new vineyards, planted new vines to help combat the effect of climate change? If so, tell us about it.

All I can say is; watch this space!

5. Which viticulture tool can you not do without and why?

My Toyota Hilux and secateur. Without my bakkie, I would not be able to reach some of our prized vineyards, and a pair of pruning clippers always comes handy in the middle of nowhere.

6. Any interesting harvest rituals at Nederburg that you could share?

We usually take time to acknowledge and bless the harvest with a glass of wine, before the first load comes to the cellar. However, this year we will sabrage a bottle of our maiden Cap Classique 2013, take a sip each and have a moment of silence for those who have been so adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

7. Your favourite harvest to date, and why?

All of them! Each and every harvest offers its own magical moments and set of opportunities and challenges. Our job is to capitalise on the opportunities whilst also navigating the challenges. This really drives us as a team to stay curious and always better our best efforts. It keeps us on our toes! I find it so satisfying to witness the growing of a vineyard, which can take years, and then seeing the fruit of labour be turned into award-winning wines.