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Kanonkop Harvest Report 2019 by Cellarmaster, Abrie Beeslaar

Kanonkop Harvest Report 2019 by Cellarmaster, Abrie Beeslaar

The 2019 vintage will be remembered as one of the most trying in modern history. After 3 years of drought, we had sufficient rain during the winter of 2018. During bud break, we had very warm weather and cold weather immediately after that. This had a negative effect on the evenness of the budding and also the eventual shoot growth. Other than that and some wind during flowering, the conditions did not look too bad. We had moderate temperatures during the first part of ripening, and then a lot of very warm weather in December. The first Pinotages we picked was very uneven, and we had green, ripe and overripe berries in one vineyard. This was one of the most challenging vintages to determine when to pick the grapes. There was not the typical fruit expression that we were looking for, and the pH levels were still too low, and the acids too high.
We accordingly picked about a week later than normal to find better ripeness.
The later ripening varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon struggled to pick up sugar, and we had to pick the fruit at lower sugar levels because the berries were starting to deteriorate. Hopefully the lower alcohol levels will put a smile on some faces.
Of great benefit was the recently installed optical sorting machine which in most cases automatically removed all unripe berries and green matter.