I’m not a particularly huge fan of Crowded House, but one thing is for sure: you always take the weather with you. We, unlike our vines, can move to the seaside where it’s cooler, or to the river where you have plenty of water, or put on a nice round hat and sunscreen, almost as if you were at the cricket. All of these factors (minus the cricket) have a great influence on what quality of wine year we’re going to have.
This has been quite an erratic wine growing season, with sporadic showers one day and dry-out-the-spit-in-your-mouth heat the next. There is absolutely nothing that we as wine growers and makers can do about it. And so the weather has been strange all over the show. All of a sudden there’s rain in Beaufort West and the three big dams in the Vaal area have exceeded their capacity! That is something that hasn’t happened in quite a while! The wind has been strange too – never just a fresh breath of air. It's either kite surfing weather, or it feels like an asthmatic mouse blowing at you through a straw – nonexistent. So you either have a drying effect, or a heating effect.
But if I put my mindless barking at the moon aside, and think about it, this has actually been a great year for wine, apart from the lack of cold units (I won’t bore you with science and details). We have had rain at the right times, we are having a warm ripening period, and thus far we are disease-free (touch wood!). So if you are into gambling but you’re tired of horses, cards, roulette, or even betting on who’s going to win the Oscar, just start making wine. The only difference is that with gambling you may have skills that could influence your outcome, like counting cards or injecting horses with steroids. With wine, there’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do is let nature take its course. And we believe that is the way wine should be made, Au Natural!
Have you ever tried cheating the weather?