With the 2019 harvest finally done and dusted, we sat down with Cellar Master Charles Hopkins for a quick chat about his take on this year’s crop.
Q: There’s a saying that all the uneven years are good vintages – will the same be said of the 2019 vintage?
Funnily enough, I started believing that theory because our uneven vintages are by far the best ones at De Grendel. Although there’s no scientific proof, for some or other reason it’s true and I am particularly happy with this vintage. Due to good rain during the 2018 winter and no heat waves in ripening season, the 2019 vintage is certainly looking promising!
Q: How does the yield of the 2019 harvest on De Grendel compare to the 2018 harvest?
The 2019 harvest is 5% less.
Q: Did you receive any rain on De Grendel during the harvest season, and how did this affect the grapes?
We received light rain showers twice (less than 10mm at a time) which had very little effect on the grapes. We are blessed to have had wind from the Atlantic afterwards that dry off the bunches after the rain. Perhaps it halted the sugar accumulation for a day or two but other than that, there were no negative side effects caused by the showers.
Q: How do grape and bunch sizes compared to previous years?
We measure a lot of berry weight, berry size and cluster weight. It was very similar to previous years due to supplementary irrigation from our grey water system.
Q: What were your biggest challenges this year?
To get all the Sauvignon Blanc grapes in at optimum ripeness. Due to the wonderful mild growing conditions all the fruit ripened nearly at the same time.
Q: Any grapes varieties from De Grendel that are looking particularly good this year?
Pinotage and Semillon.
Q: What can consumers expect from the grapes harvested in Ceres for your Op die Berg Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
It is again wonderful! The young wines show great potential and the moment we are busy with malolactic fermentation on these wines, but all the credentials are there to show they are going to be fantastic again.