Lourensford Wine Estate Harvest Report 2013

Friday, 24 May, 2013
Lourensford Wine Estate
Winter 2012 was very wet with 633mm of rain during June, July and August (2011’s total was 776mm) therefor we entered the growing season with a soil profile saturated with water. We experienced VERY strong winds during the last week of November and the first week of December.
Luckily it was already past the sensitive phenological vineyard stage: the bunches were already set and shoots through the wires. Sand-blasting did damage in some places but the vines recovered very well during the following month.

It was also the warmest December recorded in 48 years but contrary to that, harvest time was cool with 95mm of rain in February (26mm over 10 year average). The rain influenced the decision of when to harvest the Sauvignon Blanc in order to avoid rot but the timings in the end were perfect.

Pests and diseases
It was overall a good year for pests and diseases (low incidence). We had the danger of Powdery mildew infection during the latter part of the season, but it doesn’t influence the ripening process at that late stage.

Canopy management actions
No leaf plucking was done on the Chardonnay in 2013. On Sauvignon Blanc we did a “window” break as usual on the second wire to let air through to prevent against rot. A slight break in the Merlot vineyards also provided a little more sunlight on the bunches.

Budburst in Chardonnay started around the end of August/beginning of September and is about the same as the previous year. The trend continued across the other white varieties but the late red varieties were up to 2 weeks later. The ripening period during January to March was long and leisurely due to the cooler weather and had the slow and thorough development of flavours as a result. White varieties were ripe on time as expected and the reds approximately 2 weeks later than usual. The grapes had ripened physiologically at a lower sugar which implies lower natural alcohols in the wines of 2013.

The young white wines are looking very good with fresh flavours that reminds of the outstanding 2009 harvest. This can be attributed to the cooler than usual summer and the cold nights that helped protect the fruity flavours of the whites. Chardonnay and Viognier is also developing nicely in barrels or in the tanks on their lees.The first Chardonnay for MCC was harvested on 25 January while last year it was on the 31st.

The young red wines are bright in colour, fruity and clean with a fresh acidity. The vintage represent a more Mediterranean look and feel. It is not the inky, high alcoholic and tannic South African approach but instead the tannins are softer and more refined. It is still early days for a final opinion.