Drought hits Wine Farms

Lord Charles Somerset used Groote Post as his hunting lodge.

Lord Charles Somerset used Groote Post as a hunting lodge. Photos: Groote Post

Savor the flavor of this year’s wine harvest, because it was come by the hard way. Wine farms have been affected by drought, and my favorite, Groote Post, here on the West Coast, was not exempted.

Groote Post hails back to 1808, but this year will probably go down in the memory of the Pentz family, who owns the estate, as especially hard.

Groote Post 4Smaller harvest
In Groote Post’s annual harvest report the impact of the lowest rainfall in 50 years is described in a few brief words, with no dramatic flourishes or allusions to the fact that there have been calls to have the drought recognized as a national disaster. The impact of the drought was felt on this wonderful estate, which at one time belonged to Lord Charles Somerset, governor of the Cape Colony. The 2016 harvest was 30% smaller than that of 2015. Groote Post viticulturist Jannie de Clerk described the extent of the conditions:

The grapes had to be pressed much earlier than usual as a result of the high temperatures and the dryness of the preceding two summers. Rainfall during the winter of 2015 had been low and as a consequence the soil was dry and the levels of the dams were very low. Another low blow resulted from this: Irrigation had to be restricted. The parched conditions impacted on the bunches of grapes, rendering them smaller than usual. But the fact of the matter is, they were harvested and bottled. Herculean efforts, one could say.

So, drink a toast to the efforts of the wine makers when you next quaff your favorite red wine. Red wine and winter go together in this wine lover’s mind like a horse and a carriage, or perhaps something altogether more lyrical. I’ll mull on this important matter when I next sip a glass of fine wine.



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