Rising to a Challenge
Life can sometimes throw you a curveball, but often, the challenge isn’t as daunting as it initially seems, and can pleasantly surprise you. This turned out to be the case with De Grendel’s 2018 harvest. Having entered one of the worst droughts in Cape Town’s history, De Grendel experienced an amazing crop that was 35% bigger than last year, due to supplementary irrigation in critical times. “The rest of the industry is down by 30 to 40% due to the tremendous drought in the Western Cape,” explains cellar master, Charles Hopkins. Supplementary irrigation is the irrigation of crops only when necessary.
“I will say that that determining the crop size was really unpredictable this year,” said Charles. “In the back of your mind, you’re very aware of the drought and the lower crop.” It may be early days, but in Charles’ opinion, this year may be a turning point for the wine industry. He suggests that there will be a shortage of wine that will hopefully increase the price per litre substantially. Charles hopes that this increase will filter through to the grower to motivate him or her to plant again.
In terms of De Grendel’s harvest, Charles is most impressed with the Elim Shiraz, Ceres Pinot Noir (Op Die Berg) and Petit Verdot. “It’s my 33rd vintage and I still see wine making as one of the most special jobs in the world. Each year I’m amazed at how much I learn,” he says proudly. “In 2 weeks from now we’re going to bottle the first 2018 Sauvignon Blanc which is a great drink with fantastic layers of fruit.” The 2018 De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc will be released in May.