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 2017?
What was the average tonnages per day?
400 – 600t/day
Percentage red and white grapes?
± 40% red and 60% white
How does this year’s harvest totals compare to those of 2016?
The crop is almost 12% lower than the vintage of 2016, more or less 2000 tons down.
What do you think is the reason for this?
Mostly due to “Black Frost” that we experienced during middle October 2016.
How does the white and red tonnage differ from last year?
Percentage wise it is more or less the same, no significant differences. However the white grapes were more affected by the frost, luckily we had some new plantings coming in.
Did the drought affect Merwida’s harvest?
It was very dry yes, but the days were not as hot as in 2016 so we managed to irrigate all our vineyards right to the end of harvest. Drought played a minor role I would say, 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 certain dams. We could still manage to bring in our crop at desirable sugar levels though.
Merwida had a very good year in 2016 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 2017 is better than 2016. The analysis of the grapes, juice and wine is a big improvement from last year. The early 2017 varietals, like the Sauvignon Blanc and the Chenin Blanc, looks very promising. It is still early days but the reds also looks really nice. It has exceptional colour and the intensity of all the flavours true to varietal character is also outstanding.
What is your overall experience of the 2017 harvest and your predictions for the 2018 harvest?
All and all it was satisfactory enough. The structural upgrades we did in the winery worked really well during the harvest. It was a very quick harvest with the lack of tonnage, but I would say one of the best ones quality wise. I hope that in 2018 the vineyards that were affected by the black frost would recover and be back to normal..