The Hidden Valley vineyards and cellar has come alive as the 2016 harvest kicked off recently.
Because of our location on the upper slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, (we are 269m above sea-level), our vineyards ripen later than our neighbours in the valley.
It was a challenging year as high temperatures that continued throughout December and January characterized preseason.
Viticulturist, Daniël Roux, explains: “Where irrigation would normally occur only once during season, low rainfall in winter and spring, as well as the high temperatures that were experienced, led to a decrease in the groundwater content, therefore resulting in a total of three irrigation sessions in the vineyards.”
Vegetative growth was normal this year and canopy management was carefully applied.
Yields are smaller compared to last year, due to the extreme dry weather conditions, but have not had an impact on the quality of the grapes.
The Chardonnay grapes destined for our MCC were harvested in January and the base wine has already been fermented, awaiting 2nd fermentation. Bottling will be carried out in June.
The Sauvignon blanc grapes are developing beautifully and showing lovely tropical flavours. We’re also experimenting with this specific block and are extremely excited about the result!
Harvesting Sauvignon Blanc (left) and free run Sauvignon Blanc juice in the cellar (right)
Merlot for the Hidden Treasure Rosé and Hidden Gems has also been harvested and fermented with fruity red berry aromas. This batch was pressed during the weekend and yielded a soft rounded Merlot, ready for barrel ageing.
Winemaker, Annalie van Dyk, comments: “Despite the challenging conditions faced this year, the wines are looking very promising!”
Careful hand sorting and selection of our special red grapes is done berry by berry. This unique process is in support of our “Less is More” philosophy to ensure only the best fruit is used for the red blends in the range, Hidden Secret and Hidden Gems.