Gerhard’s Update from the Winery
While the winter allowed the vineyards to rest, the same can’t be said for our Winemaking Team, who are in full production mode. We have just completed the tasting, blending and preparation for bottling of these wines:
- 2020 Word of Mouth Viognier
- 2020 Free Run Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc Reserve (blending this week)
- 2020 Tributary Chenin Blanc
- 2020 Paradigm Chenin Blanc
- 2020 Two Roads Chardonnay (out of the barrels on Friday, 4 September)
- 2019 Truth Tree Pinotage
Flagstone’s Cellar Team is similarly flat-out, blending and racking wines, cleaning tanks and cleaning and steaming the barrels.
Every three weeks we top up each barrel in the winery, this amounts to some 1300 barrels and every six weeks we taste and analyse the 180 batches over four days.
As our premium red vintages sell out, we begin the process of cleaning and repacking the older vintages that require labelling. We are currently busy with our Dark Horse Shiraz and next up is the 2018 vintage of Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon.
This week we begin the considerable task of tasting the 400 barrels of the 2019 red vintage to create the 2019 vintages of Dragon Tree, Treaty Tree Red, Music Room, Dark Horse and Writers Block.
In the Vineyards
Pruning took place in August and the winter crop cover has bolstered the vineyards during the colder months.
These winter crops have the advantage of:
- Protecting the soils from erosion
- Establishing better soil structure
- Improving water holding capacity
- Improving biodiversity in the vineyard
- Improving the fauna above the soil
- Reducing weed growth and thus reducing the amount of herbicide used
Pruning is necessary as the grapevine is a runner-plant in its natural form. Pruning the vine correctly establishes the desired shape and controls the quality and the harvest and bunch size. Grapes are produced from buds that grow into shoots on 1-year-old canes (that bore fruit in the previous vintage). The most fruitful canes are those that were exposed to light during the growing season, these are thicker than a pencil and as close to the trunk as possible. If you prune properly your vine will be more manageable and have better quality fruit.
The vines have commenced the annual growth cycle in the warmer regions with bud-break. The start of the cycle is signalled by “bleeding” of the vine. This happens when the soils start warming up and osmotic forces push water containing a low concentration of organic acids, hormones, minerals and sugars up from the root system. This is seen as little droplets expelled from the pruning wounds. During this period a single vine can “bleed” up to 5 litres of water.
The tiny buds on the vine start to swell and shoots will start to grow from the buds, but more about this in our next newsletter.