Johann OlivierHarvest Report

The first part of Harvest 2024 started off with a bang, with Pinotage coming into the cellar, destined for our Carpe Diem Pinotage Reserve and our The Original Pinotage. After that, we’ve had a bit of a lull for a week, brought on by cooler weather and some rain. This was a bit of a blessing after the heatwave in the weeks before.

Thereafter we saw all our Chenin Blanc grapes being harvested in one week, without any red grapes coming into the cellar – a first at Diemersfontein; having an entire week dedicated to just receiving white wine grapes into the cellar. Luckily things have turned, and the weather returned to normal, with warm afternoons. This kicked off the harvesting of the Shiraz, which was finished by the end of last week. For now, we’re left with only a handful of varietals still to pick: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. 

The weather has changed quite drastically over the harvest time. In January we could start harvesting at 06:00 in the morning. Now it’s still much too dark at 06:00 to cut the grapes – you will only cut your fingers! Day after day we can see the sun rising later. Moderate days with cooler evenings are helping to keep the grapes fresh, which is helpful. Luckily, we still have some good water reserves in our various dams, allowing us to still do some post-harvest irrigation. 

The quality of the vintage, thus far, is looking good. Production volumes, on the other hand, are down by about 30% – something experienced by winemakers throughout the Paarl, Wellington and Swartland regions. This is due to high winds and excessive heat during the flowering stage, resulting in many of these delicate flowers scorching or blowing away before having the opportunity to develop into grapes. There doesn’t seem to be a reduction in the number of bunches, but the bunches themselves are smaller, and with less berries. 

The inside of our cellar smells heavenly at the moment! Lively tropical fruit aromas of pineapple, litchi and guava are filling the air due to the fermentation of the Chenin Blancs. We will shortly be experiencing a shift to the darker and richer notes, as the red wines start their fermentation processes. 

We’re now on the camel’s hump and, by our reckoning, things will start to quiet down with the picking from next week onwards, while things remain ‘full steam ahead’ in the cellar. 

That’s it from us for now – cheers to the rest of harvest 2024!