The Backsberg Estate Cellars 2018 harvest commenced on 15 January in true celebratory style with pickings of Chardonnay for their Sparkling Brut MCC. Wanting to share the celebrations with a select few, they’ve collaborated with the team at Blomboy to bring us our very own designer harvest piece!
ABOUT THE HARVEST
While the last two years have seen an unusually early harvest commencement date at Backsberg, this year’s harvest has kept to its traditional timeline. Following the first pickings of Chardonnay on 15 January they’ve since harvested Pinotage, which will be used to create their 2018 Pinotage Rosé. This wine was released in 2017 as Backsberg’s first rosé in this style, which proved truly successful. As such, they have increased production to meet consumer demand.
Backsberg is in a fortunate position in that they have sufficient water for irrigation, which allows them to keep the crop happy. At this stage, the Pinotage is looking fantastic and coming in at approximately 1,5g per berry. This is quite large and have been a pleasant surprise. Both the Merlot and Shiraz are showing veraison beautifully. This is exciting to watch as it signals a significant transition in the life cycle of the grape from berry growth to berry ripening. “This year has been a pleasure in that not all our grapes have ripened at the same time,” comments winemaker Alicia Rechner, “allowing us more time to pick with discretion.”
For the past year they’ve been using a test plot system during harvest, with three test plots within each vineyard block, each consisting of 5-6 vines. From this, they are able to take samples which in turn allows them to make several predictions for the current harvest as well as collect comparative data for the future. The test plot system enables us to glean information about averages in bunch size, weight, yield per vine and residual sugars, allowing comparisons to see what comes out of the press – on the day of harvest – and quantify what is observed. Essentially, this system assists with crop estimates and yield trends for future vintages which ensures consistency year after year.
“Harvest is something we work incredibly hard towards. During the entire season prior to harvest, we need to ensure the vines are happy so that they produce healthy, top-quality fruit. Now it’s time to pick and enjoy the process!” – Viticulturist, Talitha Venter.
As soon as the grapes are in, it’s up to Backsberg’s noteworthy winemaker Alicia Rechner to bring the grapes to life and create a truly exceptional end product.
ABOUT BACKSBERG’S COLLABORATION WITH BLOMBOY
“The harvest is a special time on our farm and we wanted to share this magical experience with you. We’ve collaborated with the brilliant botanical stylists at Blomboy to bring you a signature representation of Backsberg’s 2018 harvest. Your bouquet has been carefully created to denote the essence of the harvest, using foliage from our farm and representations of tasting notes from our Sparkling Brut MCC – because, indeed, the time to celebrate is ripe. The tasting notes of the MCC – which is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes – include, straw bale, apple orchard peaches, a hint of strawberry from the Pinot Noir, toasted biscuit, pear and citrus. You’ll find these flavours gently articulated in your harvest bouquet.
Of his botanical creation, Alwijn Burger from Blomboy says, “There is a wonderful poem by Nayyirah Wadeed – it reads as follows: ‘can we speak in flowers? it will be easier for me to understand.’ What an exquisite way to articulate the tasting notes and aromatic bouquet of this brilliant wine: in flowers.”
Harvest time is a sensory experience and we therefore encourage you – in order to fully experience what we do here on the farm – to not only look, but touch, smell and even taste the contents of your parcel.“