With the wine grape harvest in full swing throughout South Africa’s vineyards, Winetech and Vinpro recently announced the best vineyard blocks in five regions.

Lees dit in Afrikaans. 

The Vinpro Winetech vineyard block competition is held during January to identify, evaluate and share optimum vineyard practices with the industry. An independent panel of viticulturists and soil scientists evaluate the entries.

“The criteria used to evaluate the vineyard blocks include root distribution, pruning practices, tip actions, suckering and shoot positioning,” said Conrad Schutte, assistant manager of Vinpro’s viticultural consultation service. “We also look at efficient application of fertiliser and irrigation scheduling to ensure a healthy vineyard that will deliver high quality grapes for a specific wine goal.”

This year’s winners by region are:

  • Olifants River: Renier Rossouw of Uitkyk farm near Klawer, with a Chenin Blanc block.
  • Paarl/Swartland: Juan van der Riet of Twee Jonge Gezellen near Tulbagh, with a Pinot Noir block.
  • Robertson: Ernst and Flip Botha of Kruispad farm near Robertson, with a Shiraz vineyard block.
  • Stellenbosch: Christo Crous of Uva Mira Mountain Vineyards near Stellenbosch, with a Cabernet Franc block.
  • Worcester/Breedekloof: Bruno Suter of De Breederivier farm with a Cabernet Sauvignon block.

The fact that each region’s winning vineyard block consisted of a different cultivar, highlights the high standard that producers maintain across the cultivar spectrum.

“It’s important to recognise individuals who excel in managing all the variables of wine grape growing – from the terroir and most suited cultivar choice, to application of the right practices at the right time, and adapting to variable seasonal conditions, costs and the wine goal,” said Lucinda Heyns, viticultural technology transfer coordinator at Winetech.

“These producers contribute to the quality of the end product, and importantly to the image of South African wines,” Heyns said.

After the evaluations, farmers days were held in the regions. Here, best practices were discussed, and wine grape producers and panel members viewed and discussed the winning block.

“Producers face the same challenges. At these farmers days they can learn from each other and equip themselves to manage their vineyards to the highest standard,” said Schutte.

Visit www.vinpro.co.za for more details on each of the regional winners. – Press release