Harvest season at Kay and Monty is an exciting time of year - filled with lots of hard work and plenty of exhilaration as we reap the rewards of growing season. We chatted to Lloyd Kasimbi, farm manager and viticulturist at Kay and Monty, about the recent harvest, the challenges faced and when we will see the fruits of this year's yield.
Tell us a bit about this year’s harvest...
We had a good yield with this year’s harvest, especially with the early varietals like the Chardonnay. The first half of the season (between August and early January) was particularly great, as the grape quality was perfect and as the grapes continued to ripen, the sugar levels came up quite easily.
Tell us about the conditions you faced?
We experienced one of the driest winters in the history of Plettenberg Bay last year, although this year our vineyards were interestingly left untouched by birds and the like that usually ravage the vines. We believe that this was due to a combination of the very dry winter; the fact that the forest was wiped of all forage for the baboons and pigs following last year's fires; and the bit of rain that did start showering Plett in the last third of the year created the perfect recipe for new growth and fresh forage - in turn leading to the pigs, baboons and birds not solely depending on the vineyard for sustenance as they usually would.
The Sauvignon Blanc gave us a hard time though. In December, the vines showed spots of sunburn as we were starting veraison (the onset of ripening), a very delicate period where extreme weather can be detrimental. Then, when we entered the mid-ripening period, we had non-stop rains. While this was much-needed, it led to a lot of botrytis and sour rot - the enemy of the vineyard.
All in all, was the harvest a success?
All in all, the harvest was a success. In fact, we are going to bottle our very first Pinot Noir Rosé vintage this season, which is very exciting! We harvested a staggering 11.5 tons of Chardonnay grapes and, surprisingly enough, the Sauvignon Blanc gave us a decent 6.5 tons - not too bad for a damaged vineyard.
When will we see the fruits of this harvest?
The SAV is going to be ready in August of this year and our Champu MCC around October next year.
If you are in the area, pop in to the tasting room at Kay and Monty Vineyards to try our full range of wine. Head over here to make a booking.