Org de Rac sees Lower Yields in Quality Harvest

Thursday, 21 February, 2019
Org de Rac
With only a few Cabernet Sauvignon blocks left to pick on organic wine estate Org de Rac, cellar master Frank Meaker is ready to sum up vintage 2019: small on yield, superb on quality.

Meaker says things were looking good during winter 2018 when the Swartland region, where Org de Rac lies on the Cape Town side of Piketberg, received cold weather and much-needed rain of over 600mm .

“But then came spring and the weather gods weren’t sure in which direction they wanted to go,” he said. “Smack-bang in the middle of flowering and bud-break we had torrential rain, strong winds and cold temperatures, with a few days of above 35°C thrown in for good measure to really shake things up. The vines just didn’t know what was going on. So apart from losing fruit, the ripening and growing season was about as uneven as a performance from the Stormers rugby team.”

When harvest did commence in middle January with the picking of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Org de Rac’s organic Cap Classique sparkling wines, it was evident that 2019 was going to be a case of less is more.

“Exuberant fruit expression, solid and healthy acids and grapes of great structure and health,” he says. “What was left on the vine looked exciting showing slow ripening character with good acids and low pH’s due to a cool December and early January.”

With most of the grapes in, the fermenting wines are showing vigour, health and freshness.

“I could not have expected this quality during that spring period in which conditions were truly unnatural for the month of October, and this on the back of a rather cool September,” says Meaker. “But what it did do was show me once again how incredibly resilient the vine plant is. Although the fruit set was bizarre in most varieties, here we are with ripe white and red wine grapes showing good juice and great quality. Amazing.”

Org de Rac farms 100% organic offering a diverse array of varieties for wines that are increasing in popularity locally and internationally as consumers show a move to naturally grown agriculture products.

“We harvested Roussanne a bit earlier, as these vines were showing some stress due lack of growth, a residue of last years drought,” says Meaker. “Along with Roussanne the Verdelho produced great fruit.The Verdelho harvest, being less in volume, was pickedat full ripeness being earmarked for Die Waghuis blend and a portion of the JAN White blend.

The harvested Chenin Blanc, says Meaker, shows typical varietal features. “Smaller berries and lighter bunches, but dripping with varietal expression. This could be a classic Chenin Blanc year.”

And the same goes for Merlot, Org de Rac’s “go to” grape that has roped in some great awards for the farm. “Good colour, even ripening and a delicious juicy structure is found in the young fermenting wines,” says Frank. “Give it some time in the barrel and we are looking at a Merlot to once again make people sit upright and take notice of what we are doing with organic grapes from the Swartland

Frank Meaker Org de Rac cellarmaster
Frank Meaker Org de Rac cellarmaster

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