The month of July saw daytime temperatures of 42 degrees C and there had been not a drop of rain for more than 6 weeks. At Sainte Rose we were thankful for the drip irrigation in our vineyards, which has ensured that the extreme temperatures and lack of water have not caused any hydric stress in the vines and that the grapes continue to ripen in a healthy fashion. We were however preparing for another extremely early harvest.
The start of August brought some cooler days and some light rain that has at least washed the dust off the grapes. Regardless, our harvest began on August 4th, with a test pick of our old block Chardonnay, which we now use exclusively for our VMQ Sparkling Chardonnay. The yield is low in this mature block, but the fruit is clean and concentrated with excellent varietal characteristics. The juice in the tank showed a potential alcohol of 10.5%, which is ideal for the sparkling base wine. Once this wine has completed secondary fermentation in the bottle it is likely to reach 12%.
A second night of harvesting on 7th August saw the remaining Chardonnay for sparkling base coming in to the winery at 11% potential alcohol. With maturity progressing at this rate, we will be picking again tomorrow and this time it will be Chardonnay from our young block and Sauvignon Blanc for our still white wines. As always we will be picking the fruit at different stages of maturity so that we have a flavour spectrum of each variety from which to make the final blend.
Watch this space for further 2015 harvest updates and pictures!