Harvest Report 2024 – Feedback from the vineyards and cellar


It is that time of the year again. Our vines are entering their well deserved period of winter rest, our grapes have all been pressed and our wines are safe and sound in their various maturation vessels. It is therefore time for us to reflect and to share our thoughts of the season with all of you in the form of a vintage report. 

 This is what our winemaker, Megan, had to say about this year’s harvest:

“It is a year where a viticulturist and vineyard team’s skill and understanding of their terroir was on full display, and a year in which our team absolutely proved their expertise and agility in our ever-changing environment.”


Harvest 2024 was a bit of a surprise, yet in the famous words of Dom Toretto, “Still a Buster!” To me, each looming harvest starts at the very moment the prior comes to an end, and as we know, 2023 saw a difficult end to the season for South African wine producers. Cool, wet conditions during the 2023 harvest season kept building and took center stage with a destructive finale of severe flooding towards the end of September. By this time producers had already welcomed 2024 season growth.

We received a total of 1458mm in the 2023 calendar year and considering the tremendous impacts that some others faced, we are extremely grateful for our well-drained slopes made up of predominantly decomposed granite and Table Mountain Sandstone with a high quartz index. These severe weather events were no test for soils that developed from the eye of the Cape of Storms over 550 million years ago. To us: An excellent winter with enough cold spells to ensure great dormancy whilst above-average rainfall replenished our groundwater reserves.

Budbreak was a little bit later than usual, as soils remained cold and wet well into Spring (especially further down in the alluvial pockets where we have our Viognier and soil would be more water saturated). We applied delayed pruning to try and delay root and bud activity, respectively, in the environments where we believed lower than usual soil and air temperatures would trigger delayed budding and allow for a prolonged period of dormancy. The extended rest period allowed the vines to properly recover and recharge, which laid the foundation for a strong growing season ahead.

Our earlier budding varieties that already had their inflorescences visible and swelling during the September rains and accompanied winds undoubtedly had no choice but to sacrifice some of their growth. Severe wind following through into the earlier varieties’ flowering period led to Millerandage* and sparce set, particularly in the Viognier, Malbec and Semillon, explaining why these varietals didn’t show the upward trend in crop levels we saw for the rest of the varieties. These persistent SE-winds, however, also luckily started drying out the soils a little to allow the later budding varieties to absolutely flourish, and by the end of January (unbelievable, I know) our vineyards started showing signs of water strain as they turned their backs to the sun. This was judiciously managed with supplementary drip irrigation and the foliar application of silica in a bio-available form. A dry December and January with extremely high temperatures also sped up the ripening process and quickly brought about even bunch maturation after the green-harvest* period.

*Millerandage: uneven development of the grapes in the bunch.

The onset harvest was fast and furious. Higher sugar levels were observed early on, with low pH’s and high natural acidities. Though, lower phenological ripeness vs sugar ripeness in the earlier crops. To curb too-high alcohols, however, we moved quickly to preserve the natural acidities and handled the phenolics in the cellar.

The latter half of the season was moderate to warm and dry – textbook conditions for a farm that usually struggles to properly ripen its later reds. We saw 27mm of rain between the 6th and the 9th of March which provided a buffer to vines that needed more time to fully ripen their crops, especially with temperatures beginning to drop significantly towards the end of the month. The Cabernet Francs managed to make their way into the cellar before this cold front and showed stupendous quality and terroir expression. My harvest file at crush reads: “Perfect. Unreal scenes. Brown stem collars?? Perfectly ripe seeds. Skins crunchy leather. DARK. Epic.” The smaller berries that developed in the looser bunch structures each ripened in their own nano climate with enhanced light penetration, which contributed to beautiful colour, increased complexity and concentrated flavours. The Merlots followed suit. Unique, considering the fewer days these grapes had on the vine due to late budding and early ripening.

This bit of rain cooled everything down and we still had our Cabs, most of the Syrah and, of course, the Petit Verdot out on the vine. With all the reds providing very high skin:juice ratios, there was not much need for the Saignée* method during processing this year. Considering the demand for our Pas de Nom rosé, however, we took the opportunity to whole-bunch press some of the thick-hanging Syrah growing against our lower slopes earlier, focusing all of the vines’ remaining resources on the remainder of the crop.

Overall, we saw a 25% increase in crop for Beau Constantia to the year prior and a 31% increase on the 5-year average. From a quality perspective, the 2024 grape harvest promises to be a standout vintage. It delivered fruit of immense concentration as the dry summer resulted in small berries of excellent flavour and colour due to the increased skin-to-juice ratios. We had to work fruit very gently to not over extract, and rather utilized extended cold soaks and longer, cooler ferments to maintain elegance.

Harvest 2024 is and, more importantly, will be one to remember.-M

*Saignée* METHOD: the bleeding off of a proportion of juice from a tank of red grapes.

We are so proud of the team for making it through such a tough season and we wait in anticipation for the new wines to make their debut. Keep a look out, you definitely do not want to miss out on the new vintages!