“At La Motte our harvest usually starts at the end of January, even early February, but this year the grapes are early. The team at La Motte has however been encouraged by the early season and with just over 600 tons of the estimated 1500 for the year already in the cellar, we are optimistic about the aromas and analyses and especially pleased about the “cooler” weather”. say La Motte CEO Hein Koegelenberg.
“When French cellarhand, Max, arrived on the scheduled date of his contract, we were two weeks into the pressing season and almost done with our Sauvignon Blanc!” He is joined by harvest time helpers, David from Sweden (middle) and Jacques from South Africa (right).
“Yes, we were surprised by the early season”, explains Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche, “but up till now, we have been blessed with healthy grapes and good conditions.”
La Motte CEO, Hein Koegelenberg and Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche with the first Chardonnay of the season.
Here are Edmund’s thought on the 2015 harvest:
- In general I am satisfied with the overall health and quality of the grapes. And because we had a very good season leading up to harvest, we enjoy even ripening.
- We now have had three subsequent winters with ideal conditions – enough cold units and water. Groundwater has been replenished and satisfactory reservoir volumes are available for irrigation.
- Winter ended on a relative warm note in August which resulted in quick growth that was slowed down again during a cooler spring.
- Most varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir enjoyed exceptional weather during the flowering period with subsequent good set. Some later varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon experienced some weather challenges with stringier bunches as a result.
- Warm, dry and windy summer conditions resulted in a lower yield and made an already early season even earlier, but volume-wise at La Motte, we are on par with last year. This seems to be the trend nationally – except for the Northern Cape where bigger volumes are expected.
- We were expecting early February to be warmer but we have had cooler weather influences and have not had problems with sunburn.
- We are are in the process of harvesting our Viognier for Straw Wine.
- This week we have started with La Motte’s Merlot and Malbec from our Nabot farm in Walker Bay. We should be finishing off with white – Sauvignon Blanc from Durbanville, Elgin and Elim as well as Franschhoek Semillion – by the end of next week.
For those interested in what happens in the vineyards and cellar during harvest time, do not miss our special Harvest programme! Join us from Tuesdays to Fridays for a special Harvest Tasting or book for our Tour, Taste and Talk the Harvest event on Thursday, 19 February at 18:00.
On the featured image: La Motte Owner Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg and CEO Hein Koegelenberg with Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche and the rest of the winemaking and viticulture team.