Backsberg Estate 2018 Harvest

While the last two years have seen an unusually early harvest commencement date at Backsberg, this year’s harvest has kept to its traditional timeline.

Following our first pickings of Chardonnay on 15 January we’ve since harvested Pinotage, which will be used to create our 2018 Pinotage Rosé. This wine was released in 2017 as Backsberg’s first rosé in this style, which proved truly successful. As such, we are delighted to have increased production to meet consumer demand.

Backsberg is in a fortunate position in that we do have sufficient water for irrigation, which allows us to keep the crop happy. At this stage, the Pinotage is looking fantastic and coming in at approximately 1,5g per berry. This is quite large and we’ve been pleasantly surprised. 

Both our Merlot and Shiraz are showing veraison beautifully. This is exciting to watch as it signals a significant transition in the life cycle of the grape from berry growth to berry ripening. “This year has been a pleasure in that not all our grapes have ripened at the same time,” comments winemaker Alicia Rechner, “allowing us more time to pick with discretion.”

For the past year we have been using a test plot system during harvest. We have three test plots within each vineyard block, each consisting of 5-6 vines. From this, we are able to take samples which in turn allows us to make several predictions for the current harvest as well as collect comparative data for the future. The test plot system enables us to glean information about averages in bunch size, weight, yield per vine and residual sugars. We are able to do comparisons to see what comes out of the press - on the day of harvest - and quantify what we see. Essentially, this system assists with crop estimates and yield trends for future vintages which ensures consistency year after year.

“Harvest is something we work incredibly hard towards. During the entire season prior to harvest, we need to ensure the vines are happy so that they produce healthy, top-quality fruit. Now it’s time to pick and enjoy the process!” – Viticulturist, Talitha Venter.

As soon as the grapes are in, it’s up to our noteworthy winemaker Alicia Rechner to bring the grapes to life and create a truly exceptional end product.