Harvest 2023: An Elgin Harvest Summary
Updated: Apr 27
And why we may all have a few more grey hairs
We have finally finished the harvest of 2023 and we crushed it! Despite being faced with some weather challenges, this year’s harvest has resulted in some exciting prospects for Kershaw Wines.
After a below-average winter rainfall, a wet spring ensued with the vines dancing in their rain boots as they thrived in ample moisture. At this stage, the harvest looked as if it was as late as the previous two years. However, the weather quickly turned warmer and drier in December and January, by accelerating vine growth and causing the grapes to ripen earlier than expected. It looked like the whole harvest was going to be three weeks earlier.
The weather took another turn in February and March with cooler temperatures and increased rainfall. At first, we were very apprehensive as to the effect on the grapes, but the drier conditions presented in January allowed the soils to mop up the initial rains relieving the stress in the vines and allowing proper physiological ripening to take place in the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
As a result, we harvested our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir two weeks earlier than usual, and the flavours are simply fabulous! With great acidity and punchy fruit, the early harvest has yielded some truly outstanding results. These wines are showing amazing flavour intensity, truly popping out of the glass.
The weather continued cool and wet throughout March, and this started to put pressure on our late-ripening cultivars such as Syrah. This necessitated leaf plucking to open up the canopy and more regular vineyard visits to monitor for outbreaks of fungus and taste the grapes.
The cool and cloudy conditions limited photosynthesis and hastened the vine’s winter shutdown cycle. We expected that we weren’t going to achieve the usual levels of sugar and as a result, visited the vineyard from an earlier date and more regularly to monitor leaf senescence in relation to pip and skin ripeness.
This focus will hopefully bring about a balance in the Syrah.
While the damp weather presented challenges, particularly for the Syrah grapes, as it increased the risk of disease, there is a silver lining. The Syrah has lower alcohol levels, which will result in fresher, deeper-coloured, more vibrant, and better-balanced wines. This increases the differences between Syrah and Shiraz styles.
I am immensely proud of the hard work and dedication put in by our team throughout the harvest season. It was not an easy one but their dedication and passion have been instrumental in bringing out the best from the vineyards, despite the weather challenges.
I can’t wait to share our unique wines with you and I hope you will join me in raising a glass to celebrate the success of the 2023 harvest.