February is a magical month in Cape Town. The wind dies down, the intensity of the January heat softens and all around people experience this incredible atmosphere. February is above all the month of the grape harvest in South Africa : in this month nature completes the process it has built in the vineyard during the year, with the precious intervention of man.
Harvesting is an art in the wine regions around Cape Town. The protagonists are the passion and competence of two very important figures for every South African winery: winemaker and oenologist, who together decide the precise moment in which the grapes are perfectly ready to be harvested.
Science and taste guide the harvest so that the sweetness, flavor and acidity of the grapes are optimal.
The winter conditions of 2021 in South Africa were excellent, characterized by periods of even above-average cold - as evidenced by the frequent snowfalls on the mountain tops - together with above-normal precipitation which fed the aquifers. The cool and humid spring gave rise to slightly later budding than usual, but consistently good and uniform. The cool weather delayed initial growth, but most vines recovered during flowering.
In this month of February all South African wineries are working to harvest the grapes at the optimal moment of their ripening. There is always great enthusiasm in the vineyards during this period; harvesting teams are often busy many hours a day to make the most of the best ripening conditions of the grapes, but they experience their work with excitement and great involvement. Everyone knows that the success of wine begins right from the harvest, not only in South Africa.
The harvest begins early in the morning (the February heat sometimes becomes intense during the day) and is generally carried out by hand . This helps harvest the best quality grapes, without damaging the bunches. The grapes are then turned over onto the sorting table, and the under-ripe or over-ripe ones are discarded. The best bunches are sent in baskets to the cellar where the pressing, fermentation and aging processes await them that will produce the wines of the vintage.
February and March are the best months to visit South African wineries , where you can feel a genuine positive energy.
The calendar of food and wine events of the last 2 years has been turned upside down, putting the traditional organization of harvest festivals to the test. This year, however, there are many events organized to celebrate the busiest months for the South African wine regions.
For example, until March 23 Stellenbosch hosts its annual Street Soirées, a series of relaxing evening food and wine tastings, in a closed street dedicated to the event.
We therefore wish everyone that 2022 will be a fantastic year and produce the excellent South African wine to which this generous land has accustomed us.