Harvest 2024 kicked off some 10 days earlier than the average years, the result of a dry summer and a warm, sunny start into 2024. Despite the more than 900mm of rain Diemersdal saw last year together with a harsh, cold winter, the grapes this year reached ripening levels earlier than which is normally the case.

Our vineyards are especially dependent on the whims of climate as all 200ha of the estate’s vineyards are dryland farmed, meaning that the only moisture their soils receives is from rainfall. Of course, last year the vineyards were very happy as the above-average rain ensured the soil was wet right down to the very ends of the vine-roots, some of which are six meters below the surface. The extended warm weather at the end of last year and in the first two months of 2024 led to grape sugar-levels rising at an intense pace, resulting in an earlier harvest.

Expecting a bumper crop in terms of yields as the bunches formed at the end of last year, you can never accurately predict what a vintage will hold. At the beginning of the harvest, bunch-weights were unexpectedly low, leading to anticipating a smaller crop. However, after the first few weeks’ harvesting the volumes of the later-ripening fruit had increased, resulting in substantial grape volumes, with quality also being superb. Grapes showed excellent chemistry with accuracy in the balance between sugars and acidity as well as healthy pH levels. The quality of the grapes at harvest are evident in the Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc wines already bottled, these showing tropical and citrus notes, with a delightful freshness.

Red wines
By the time the harvesting of the later-ripening red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Malbec began, conditions had cooled to long sunny days and mild air temperatures. Vineyard health remained excellent as the red grapes were picked, crushed and fermented on their skins. Here the red varieties showed refinement and elegance as well as visceral varietal expression – the earlier warm period boosted sugar-levels and sumptuous fruit-flavour, while the later stages of ripening ensured the firm, muscular tannins required for red wines of distinction, excellence and the ability to age.