The varieties best suited to cool climate like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir are usually grown on east facing slopes with morning sunlight while the more robust reds like Merlot and Syrah require warm afternoon west facing slopes to ripen completely.
Vines grown in cool climate Elgin are generally harvested 3 weeks to a month after Stellenbosch and Paarl. The benefit of growing vines in cool climate conditions is that the hang time for clusters is extended for more complete ripening of fruit flavours, tannins and there is a noticeable increase in intensity without compromising the delicate, aromatic fruit profiles. An added benefit is that alcohol levels are kept in check too. The most important consideration for growing vines in cool climate Elgin, is the natural maintenance of good, natural acid levels in grapes which ultimately determines freshness, brightness, purity, longevity, balance and overall harmony in the wine. In warmer grape growing regions, this aspect is often compromised.
Vine canopies and crop loads are monitored regularly during the growing season in order to enhance flavour production and ripen the tannin profile optimally so that the resultant wines are balanced. Leaf plucking timed correctly for cluster exposure to “burn” off green pyrazines (green compounds) without burning the delicate fruit flavours is applied under well researched weather forecasts just prior to harvesting.
All grapes from vines purchased, both red and white varieties are vertically shoot positioned on five wired fence-styled trellises. This allows for good vineyard husbandry and easy access for harvesting the clusters.
There is stringent control on herbicide, pesticide and fungicide applications that is strictly auditored so that all vineyards that are currently used for our wines are sustainably accredited.
Irrigation, mostly under drip systems at each vine, is applied according to soil moisture requirement and tested during the growing season on a regular basis by means of tensiometres and pressure bomb apparatus to determine accurately the quantity of water to be scheduled per vine.
Harvest decisions are based on vine and cluster ripeness that is monitored very carefully by both tasting the berries and laboratory analysis to ascertain the parameters required for the style of wine to be made.
Clusters are hand harvested into 17kg baskets and are mostly sorted in the vineyard so that matter other than grapes are brought to the cellar.