Now in its third year, night harvesting is the new normal for picking all grapes at the Robertson estate. After making this decision in 2020 and reaping fruitful results.
Once a year around this time, our vineyard and cellar team gather under the stars for a great adventure: night harvest for the new vintage of Graham Beck Cap Classique! 2023 marks our 33rd harvest and third annual 100% night harvest since our maiden vintage in 1991.
“While January may be a slow start for some, it’s the exact opposite at Graham Beck. Since early December, we have been keeping a close eye on the grapes to predict the optimal picking date, which started on 5 January 2023,” shares Pierre de Klerk (Cellar Master).
Benefits of Night Harvesting
Quality parameters positively influenced by bringing in cooler grapes
with night presses:
- Increased flavour: Preservation and protection of aroma and aroma precursor components.
- Preserving a low pH - essential for quality Cap Classique.
- Preservation of acid: Heat accelerates the precipitation of organic acids in grapes and juice and necessitates the addition of tartaric acid to juice - especially press juice.
- The vineyard team prefers the lower temperatures at night for picking.
- Lower oxidation potential: Reduced amounts of additives such as SO2, PVPP, bentonite, etc. (the same process that turns a cut apple brown)
- Lower phenolic extraction that, in turn will lead to reduced product additions to the juice and wine.
The new year also sees a new milestone in the production of Cap Classique. As of harvest 2023, wine has to remain on the lees for a minimum of 12 months to be titled ‘Cap Classique’. This is a momentous moment for the industry, which is working hard to elevate quality. At Graham Beck, all our sparkling wines are aged for a minimum of 15 months on the lees.
FORWARD TO A FRIEND SHARE LINK VIA FACEBOOK