We had a chat with our cellar master/winemaker/viticulturist, Magnus Kriel about this year’s harvest season:
What was the total tonnages harvested for 2016?
What was the average tonnages per day?
Percentage red and white grapes?
32% red and 68% white
How does this year’s harvest totals compare to those of 2015?
The crop is almost 16% higher than the vintage of 2015, 2400 tons more.
What do you think is the reason for this?
Mostly due to new plantings coming in to bear. Also we had a terrible Colombar season in 2015 and alone on Colombar we picked 1000 tons more this year, this variety is actually back to normal now and contribute to almost 20% of the total production.
How does the white and red tonnages differ from last year?
Percentage wise it is more or less the same, no significant differences.
Were there any new cultivars harvested this year? If so, how did they perform and are you excited about the outcome?
No new ones, just a couple of cultivars only this year in full production and are showing some real potential, for example the Petit Shyrah.
Did the drought affect Merwida’s harvest?
We managed to irrigate all our vineyards right to the end of harvest. I would say the unknown continuous heat affected the flavours a lot more than in 2015. Drought played a minor role, although some farms and some blocks were affected more than others where the full irrigation cycle per week was cut into half due to low water levels in dams.
Merwida had a very good year in 2015 regarding awards. Do you think this year’s harvest is of the same quality, and which wines are standing out for you?
Personally I feel that 2015 was much better than 2016. The early 2016 varietals, like the Sauvignon blanc, first Chenin’s and Chardonnay looks promising as well as the reds, but the gross white looks pretty average. It was also a tough year in terms of vinification and the chemical composition of the grapes due to the abnormal weather phenomena – it really put our winemaking knowledge to the test.
What is your overall experience of the 2016 harvest and your predictions for the 2017 harvest?
All and all it was satisfactory enough. I have absolutely no idea what to expect for 2017! Only the weather conditions that lies ahead and time will tell…