The vines are looking glorious at Sainte Rose, with luxuriant canopies and elegant, meticulously maintained rows. Sadly, the amount of fruit developing on the beautiful vines is a fraction of what we would usually expect, due to the severe frost that we experienced in April this year.
The random nature of this frost damage means that harvest 2021 will be much more challenging to manage. The grapes have developed at different rates and therefore maturity will not be homogenous, plus the uneven crop levels means that within any one row, you may find some vines with a good crop load, but other vines that have produced no fruit at all.
The good news is that we do have some grapes to harvest and veraison has begun across all varieties. This is the process which signifies the beginning of the ripening cycle, when the vines concentrate their energy into producing sugar, aromas, flavours and tannins, rather than vegetation. In white grapes this process transforms the hard, green berries into softer, more translucent, golden bunches, and in the red varieties from opaque green into glorious red and purple fruit.
It will clearly not be an early start to the harvest this year, even though temperatures are now soaring into the mid-30’s Celsius. We will keep you posted of how and what we pick as maturity progresses and will be posting regular images and updates of this exciting and important period over the course of the next few weeks. Please follow our progress on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as we enter the 2021 harvest.