Are you ready for some spectacular new vintages? Ok, it’s a little early for that still, but Louisvale Wines have reached another happy, healthy harvest season and we’re super excited to share it all with you. Getting a grape from a pretty flower on a grapevine to a delectable vintage is a surprisingly complex process, and every single grape that goes into your favourite Cape Chardonnay has a long journey before it gets to delight your taste buds. Here’s a sneak peek at what it takes to be a successful grape in the Louisvale Wines collection.

Not Just Fermented Grapes

On paper, making wine sounds easy. You grab a bunch of grapes, ferment them, and boom- delicious wine, right? Not quite. While you’ll always get a fermented beverage that way- and hey, it might even be drinkable- it’s going to be very hit-and-miss.

Modern winemaking is where science and circumstance cross paths. Unlike the ancients who first made wine, we know how to select the right cultivar to make the perfect wine. Cape Chardonnay grapes, for example, are a crisp green, and in South Africa we can never add flavourings of any kind, so you know that trusted Louisvale Wines taste is legitimate every time.

We’ve also learned a lot about how ageing and maturing wines work, why certain woods give the heavenly tastes they do, and how to control the maturation process reliably. We have better bottles, and safe corks, so less wine is lost to corking. 

The Art of the Grape

But there’s still an art to winemaking that science just can’t guarantee. Everything from the soil conditions in the field to the weather during the growing season can affect the final crop, and you never quite know what nature will give you until the very last moment. So it’s always time to celebrate when you have a great harvest on hand. There’s a reason there’s so many wine harvesting festivals to enjoy in the Cape!

This year was predicted to be a smaller crop in comparison to last, and the unusual seasonal weather we’ve had through summer has had its own effect on our expectations. Despite this prediction, the grapes we do bring in are predicted to be exceptional, so there’s much to look forward to. The wine harvest season in South Africa runs from January to April, depending on the grape variety and conditions that summer. Chardonnay grapes are commonly harvested towards the end of February, but there’s a little wiggle room based on the sweetness, flavour, and acidity of the grapes. 

Harvest season is now in full swing at Louisvale Wines, and if you’re curious, you’re welcome to swing by for a delicious bite at Food @ Louisvale and see the action.