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Night Harvest 2023 - An adventure amongst the stars

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).



Pierre De Klerk


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.




Future Thinking:


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.



Celebrate What Matters


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