Harvest 2022 is officially in full swing!
From an industry perspective, on the 2nd of February 2022, SA Wine commemorated 363 years of winemaking heritage, and at Backsberg, this year we excitedly celebrate our 106th harvest!
We are no strangers to the expectations of the season and the anticipation that awaits the harvest. However, the delight of each never disappoints. We revel in the first tank filled.
Slow out of the starting gate, this year’s harvest kicked off 2 to 3 weeks behind the anticipated curve, with vines budding later than expected. “This was largely due to an unusually cool start to the summer season and late summer rains”, notes Alicia Rechner, Backsberg Winemaker of nearly 20 years.
“This good amount of rain and colder moments ensured that the vines were well-rested and packed with reserves. The long, cool ripening season ensured the balance of fruit and acids were well-retained.” This encourages developed flavours and exciting potential for aromatics and quality.
However, this cooler weather was short-lived with four intense heat waves following one after another. On the 22nd of January, the Western Cape reached new heights on the global temperature gauge and claimed the title of the hottest location on Earth. “We’ll, therefore, be seeing a slow start but fast and speedy finish”, says Alicia.
“These are tricky harvests though as you don’t have the luxury of spacing out the upcoming weeks and picking by cultivar as each ripens.” It takes skill, exceptional coordination, and the backing of a phenomenal team. That being said, “the wines should be ripe and full of flavour. We expect good sugars in the grapes and if we’re fast enough at the start, which we intend to be, we can retain fruit with the fullness we are so known for, resulting in the best possible wines.”
In the week ahead, pickings will include beautiful, bright bunches of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, followed by the addition of Sauvignon Blanc in the next. These bunches will be picked in the early hours of the morning to ensure cooler fruit reaches the cellar door.
The cellar is set to be a hive of activity for the next few weeks and we look forward to a bumper harvest. Let’s raise a glass to Harvest 2022. Cheers!