SOUTH AFRICAN WINE: HARVEST REPORT 2015
The South African wine industry will remember the 2015 season as one of the driest and earliest in years, with a somewhat smaller wine grape harvest promising exceptional wines.
According to regional viticulturists of VinPro – the representative organisation for close to 3 500 wine grape producers and cellars – this year’s harvest kicked off two weeks earlier than usual.
“The 2015 harvest had the earliest start in decades. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks,” said VinPro’s Consultation Service.
The dry weather also led to one of the healthiest seasons in years, with almost no losses due to diseases or rot.
The total harvest is expected to be 1% – 2% smaller than the record harvest in 2014.
The Worcester region harvested the largest wine grape crop in the area’s history, with Robertson also realising a larger harvest.
The intake of wine grapes in the Orange River, Olifants River and Breedekloof regions was close to the same as in 2014 and somewhat smaller crops were harvested in the rest of the regions.
Dryland vineyards in the coastal regions were affected by water shortages due to the drier weather conditions. A channel break in the Olifants River region during January did not have a substantial effect on its production.
South Africa is the seventh largest wine producer globally and produces 4% of the world’s wine. Close to 52% of the country’s natural wine is exported and 48% is sold locally.
Commenting on the harvest, Siobhan Thompson, CEO, Wines of South Africa, said: “The wines from our 2015 harvest are set to cement South Africa’s position as the most exciting wine producer in the world.
The wave of optimism around the quality of South African wines will only continue and we’re excited to be able to showcase this great vintage during our forthcoming trade show, Cape Wine, this September. Our winemakers are gearing up to show visitors from across the globe some of the best wines South Africa has ever produced.”
Total crop size:
The 2015 wine grape crop is expected to reach 1 502 360 tons according to the latest estimate (30 April 2015) of the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (Sawis). It is 1.1% smaller than the record harvest in 2014.
The 2015 wine harvest – including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and distilling wine – is expected to amount to 1 164.9 million litres, calculated at an average recovery of 775 litres per ton of grapes.
2014/15 Growing season:
Good reserves were accumulated during the post-harvest period in April and May, after which leaf fall generally occurred at the right time. A cold, wet winter led to the accumulation of sufficient cold units for the full breaking of dormancy, which contributed to even bud break.
Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break.
A warm, dry and windy summer followed, keeping vineyard growth under control and accelerating ripening by approximately two weeks, which brought the harvesting season forward by two weeks.
With the absence of the usual heat waves in most regions, cooler than usual weather in February was ideal for ripening and harvesting. Lower temperatures at night during this time contributed towards good colour and flavour in especially the red cultivars.
Temperatures warmed up again during March, which led to the harvest ending close to two weeks earlier than usual in most regions.
Although the dry, warm conditions – and especially a lack of rain at the beginning of November – necessitated additional irrigation, the dry weather during the harvest time was ideal to ensure healthy grapes without diseases or rot.
“Save up, beautiful wines are on their way!” . Exceptional wines are expected throughout the cultivar spectrum, and some winemakers laud this year’s harvest as one of their career highlights.
Grape analyses were good, with low pH and good acidity and sugar levels, which form the foundation for high quality wines.
Smaller berries, as well as moderate temperatures during the harvest time led to good colour and intense flavour in this year’s red wines. White wines are also of above average quality, with good wine analyses and flavour spectrums.
Overview of the regions:
Breedekloof – One of the best harvests ever in terms of quality, with a relatively large crop as bonus.
Klein Karoo – An unusually early, healthy season brings a high quality, but smaller harvest.
Malmesbury/Swartland – This dryland region’s crop decreased, but smaller berries promise remarkable quality.
Olifants River – Exceptional grape analyses and colour due to a more moderate summer; the same crop size as in 2014.
Orange River – A good harvest of the same size as in 2014, despite limited frost damage and heat waves.
Paarl – After kicking off very early, a smaller harvest of very high quality was taken in.
Robertson – A bigger harvest than in 2014, with exceptional quality wines.
Stellenbosch – Although somewhat smaller, this was one of the best, if not the best, harvests in years.
Worcester – The largest harvest in the region’s history, producing very good wines.
Boplaas, Best SA Port – third year in a row
They do say “Third time’s the charm!” and it might just be for Boplaas with their third consecutive CAPPA Trophy winning Cape “Port” in a row. The 2015 CAPPA Trophy, gold medal and “Best in Class” went to the Boplass Cape Tawny BIN 1880 – a bespoke blend of the best barrel matured Tawny & labelled Bin 1880 to commemorate the Nel’s of Boplaas’s wine making heritage which spans back to 1880. This year’s Challenge runner-up spot went to the Boplass Cape Vintage Reserve 2013 – which took top honours in eagerly contested Cape Vintage Class. Boplaas’s prowess doesn’t stop with “Port”, as four of the CAPPA Top 10 table wines were produced by the cellar team at Boplaas.
This year, as in the past, the judging panel were astounded by the sheer quality offered by the Cape’s fortifieds and lamented that consumers should take heed of the incredible value, quality and sheer enjoyment offered by the wines. Convenor of the panel of tasters, Christine Rudman was particularly pleased by the Tawny & Vintage classes, but was incredibly impressed by the improvement made by producers in crafting table wines from the Portuguese varietals.
Apart of taking top honours, the Boplass Cape Tawny BIN 1880 also walked away with “Best in Class” and gold. This limited release bottling, available exclusively from the cellar door, commemorates the Nel’s wine making heritage dating back to 1880 and is a blend of the finest Tawny exhibits the complex melange of nutty, caramel, citrus, spice, oak and ranciocharacterics which typify the style. Served chilled this wine will make an exceptional accompaniment to roast duck, venison, slow roast pork or a selection of mature cheeses.
Having always crafted the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve wines for extended bottle maturation, it is exceptionally pleasing that the Boplass Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2004 took gold and the runner-up position in the “Museum Class” – only being upstaged by a KWV 1948 Port. The Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve, contrary to convention, out shone the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 20015 – both of which quite easily can mature for the better part of the coming two decades.
Boplaas not only showcased its prowess in Port, but also its dedication to the crafting of the very finest table wines using Portuguese varietals and were awarded four spots in the CAPPA Top 100. The Boplass Family Reserve Touriga Francesca 2012 – South Africa’s only varietal bottling – took one of the 4 spots.
This exceptional wine was joined by the Boplass Family Reserve Ring Of Rocks 2013, Boplass Portuguese Collection Touriga Nacional 2014 , as well as the Boplass Tinta Chocolat 2014. These wines showcase the Cape’s incredible potential with these hardy Portuguese varietals is handsome reward for the dedication and exceptional effort by Boplaas’s vineyard and cellar team.
Come discover these award winning wines and other Portuguese varietal table wines at our cellar door in Calitzdorp, as well our tasting room in Little Brak along the Garden route.
Boplaas makes it a double at TOP 100 SA Wines
Now in its fifth year, the Top 100 SA Wines competition judged by a panel of international wine critics and local experts attracted 500 entries from 140 wineries, and for the second successive year Boplaas Family Vineyards managed two inclusions in this luminary list. As in 2014, a benchmark Boplaas Cape fortified & Portuguese varietal table wine cracked the nod in 2015, with the Boplass Cape Vintage Reserve 2012 and Boplass Tourige Nacional 2012 making the list.
The Boplass Cape Vintage Reserve 2012 crafted from a quartet of hand harvested old vine Portuguese varieties & utilising traditional vinifications techniques, including extensive manual pigeage in open top lagares and ageing in old large format oak barrels prior to bottling unfined & unfiltered. This benchmark Cape Vintage Reserve is crafted in truly miniscule volumes from the finest fruit of the vintage and destined for decades of enjoyment if carefully cellared. Best enjoyed decanted in its youth accompanied by hearty rustic country fare – such as springbok pie, waterblommetjiebredie, braised beef short-rib or slow roast leg of Karoo lamb – or as a failsafe with decadent dark chocolate, aged hard cheese, preserved fruits or charcuterie.
Come discover these TOP 100 2015 winning wines, as well as our full range of Portuguese varietal table wines & benchmark Cape fortifieds, at our cellar door in Calitzdorp, as well our tasting room in Little Brak along the Garden route.
A 5 star Platter for Boplaas Cape Tawny after 4 super awards
With well over 5000 wines reviewed, the annual Platters South African Wine Guide offers users a good glimpse of the ever evolving Cape wine landscape and the awarding of 5 Stars its most sought after accolade. Of the 200 wines advancing to this year’s final blind tasting, only 51 managed to receive 5 Stars of these only two were awarded to Port style Cape fortifieds.
One of these 5 Stars was awarded to the luminary Boplass Cape Tawny Vinters Reserve Non-Vintage N/V – crafted according to traditional methods from Portuguese varietal and a blend of decade old barrel matured wines. Boplaas Family Vineyards were also awarded two 4 1/2 Stars and six 4 Stars in the upcoming guide.
Claiming a double gold medal at Veritas 2013 ; a Grand d’Or from the Michelangelo International Wine & SpiritAwards 2013 ; Cape Tawny category winner and overall trophy winning “Port” at the Cape Port Producers Association (CAPPA) Challenge 2013; awarded the only 5 star rating from Classic Wine TOP SIX Cape “Ports” 2014; and now the PLatters 5 Star the Boplass Cape Tawny Vinters Reserve N/V is a fine fortified with impeccable pedigree. Crafted according to traditional methods from Portuguese varieties, this blend of 12 to 14 year old barrel matured Cape Tawny “Port” is a testament to the patience and craftsmanship of the Nel’s of Boplaas. This lusciously complex fortified is best enjoyed lightly chilled accompanied by Classic Canard d’Orange, slow roast pork belly, fine mature Stilton, decadent crème brûlee or simply savoured solo.
The maiden releases of the Boplass Gamka 2012, Boplass Straw Wine 2013 and Boplass Cape Portuguese White Blend 2014 all scooped 4 Stars – the latter is a zesty 50% blend of exotic Verdelho with equal parts Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay originating from Calitzdorp and available from the cellar door for R40 per bottle, making it a definite summer poolside companion of note. Boplaas’s versatility is once again Boplass Bobbejaanberg Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – Gran d’Or medal winner at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirit Awards 2014 – originating from high altitude vines, hand harvested the 31st March in the Upper-Langkloof being rewarded with a 4 Star rating in the 2015 guide.
This year the Boplass CWG Auction Reserve Ox Wagon 1880 a 8 Year Potstill , crafted exclusively for sale at the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, garnered a very respectable 4 1/2 Star – as only a single brandy received the ultimate accolade in the 2015 guide – and joins the 5 Stars received last year by the Boplass Potstill 20 Year. Unbeknownst to most, Boplaas has a rich heritage of crafting fine potstill brandy dating back to the first export in 1880 and continuing with first Estate Brandy released in 1994.
All the Platter luminary wines, except the Boplass CWG Brandy, are available for tasting and purchase from our cellar door in Calitzdorp, as well our tasting room in Little Brak along the Garden route. The 5 Star Boplass Cape Tawny Vinters Reserve N/V is exclusively available in the tasting room, with limited stocks available.
Harvest 2015 Approaches
As we approach the end of 2014, we look back at what the year has brought and the developments Anura has made.
After a successful, record crush, the cellar has been hard at work moving all the 2014 vintage to barrel and bottling all the wines that are finally ready.
Our 2012 Reserve range has now been bottled which is always necessary to make space for the upcoming 2015 harvest.
Because Anura produces a premium Methode Cap Classique our harvest begins very early in Jan with the Pinot Noir which we expect will already be begging to be picked on the 5th of January.
We do a few harvests of the same vineyard and pickers only pick the ripest bunches each time.
This ensures that we are picking the grapes as they reach maturity and contain relatively low sugar and high acid. These techniques, among other things, are how we manage to emphasize the crisp, granny smith apple flavours in the MCC Brut.
One of the most recent additions to the Anura family is Wagon Trail Brewery and The Trading Post Eatery.
Opened recently in November we are very pleased on how the project turned out and visitors are enjoying the craft beers, wines and innovative foods served.
Forest Hill cheese has also been successful at this year World Jersey Cheese Awards scooping up a few silver medals as well as two gold medals for our Anura Mountain Cheese and Marisch.
The team is very proud of the accolades especially after all the hard work and passion put into producing consistent artisanal cheeses even when demand has been increased.
Our range of cheeses is available at The Trading Post for purchase and the cheeses can also have been tasted alongside our Anura wines at the tasting room.
Our tasting room is ready for season and we have already seen massive increase in foreign visitors, which we are very happy with, we always love promoting South Africa and all the special treats we should offer the world!
The tasting room is open Mon-Sun 9am to 5pm and our team are all very well informed and offer the very best wine experience and truly showcase the passion we have for handcrafted wines here at Anura.
With all these additions to the Anura “family”, we would like to think we have created the ultimate destination for visitors looking for a taste sensation with a focus on fresh, quality, artisanal produced products all produced on the estate.