The 2016 harvest at Cederberg Private Cellar was completed two weeks earlier than usual.
The grapes ripened a lot quicker owing to the dry, warm weather we experienced in December and January, making the 2016 harvest the earliest one on record for Cederberg. Fortunately we have the advantage of enough water for supplementary irrigation, which is so important in a dry year like 2016.
The dry season meant smaller berries and smaller bunches, which weighed less and yielded fewer litres per tonne. To us this was a positive, bringing concentrated flavour to both whites and reds.
In general it was a challenging year for whites, but we were prepared: the optimum picking time was crucial this year. The white berries came in with lower acidity but beautiful ripeness. The latter makes for more mouthfeel and body than in previous years. In the cellar we now have a diverse selection of aromatic components for creating beautiful white wines. It will be exciting to see the development of each tank as it matures on its fine lees.
The reds are showing beautiful concentration and really good colour. It was not necessary to extract too much with pump-overs and punch-downs. Although it is still very early to tell, since reds develop and change quite a bit, we are expecting big, bold 2016 reds.
As a result of climate change, the 2016 harvest season started a week earlier than in 2015 – with the 2015 harvest a week earlier than 2014. Picking finished two weeks earlier than in a normal Cederberg year. We expect this pattern to continue in the years to come.
New tanks were brought in at the start of the harvest, in line with our new enlarged cellar that can handle an extra 120 tonnes.
Here’s to a great year and a cellar team who worked as if nightfall never came!