Vineyard preparation for harvest

Paserene’s winemaker, Martin Smith, is hard at work preparing the vineyards for the upcoming 2023 harvest. One of the essential practices at this time is green harvesting, also known as crop thinning. It is a viticultural practice that involves removing some grape clusters from the vine before they reach maturity. This may seem counterintuitive, cutting and discarding fruit, but the benefits are crucial for quality wines. Green harvesting ensures that the remaining clusters receive adequate sunlight, nutrients, and water, which leads to better grape quality and overall vine health.

At this late stage of the season, the berries ripen through a phase called Veraison. This phase lasts between 30 – 70 days, depending on the cultivar, climate and style of wine the winemaker plans to make. The vines use higher levels of sunlight on the leaves to photosynthesise and energise the berries to convert the naturally high acid levels into sugars. 

Martin and the team walk the vineyards, carefully considering each vine and looking for overloading or bunches that will not ripen. Green harvesting aims to balance each vine’s leaf area and sun exposure with the weight of the fruit to ensure better ripening. Some cultivars are known for vigorous growth and can become overladen with berry clusters, especially in warmer years with much water and nutrients. During the growing season, some grape clusters may not develop fully, creating bunches with odd formations and bunches with uneven ripening across the cluster. Removing the excess and odd bunches allows the vines to focus their energy on the fruit that is far more likely to ripen into quality grapes.

The vines concentrate more flavour and character in the berries with fewer grapes. This is essential for the collection of Paserene wines, with the Elements range blending the best aspects of the three terroirs, Franschhoek, Elgin and Tulbagh. While the Paserene range captures the best of each cultivar from a single region. 

During this high-energy phase of the growing season, green harvesting also supports the overall health of the vine. When a vine produces too many clusters, it can become stressed and overworked, which can lead to a decrease in overall vine health. By removing some of the clusters, the vine is able to conserve energy and focus on maintaining its health. As a step in Paserene’s regenerative viticultural practices, the bunches that are removed are left in the vineyard to allow the precious nutrients back into the soils supporting the vines and future vintages to come. 

Paserene’s tasting lounge, the Nest, situated in the historical Franschhoek Valley. Also found on the red and yellow lines of the Franschhoek Wine Tram, Paserene is a place to be seen. The building’s architecture is inspired by the nests of travelling swallows, a bird of the order Passeriformes, the brand’s core inspiration. The Nest is a beautiful space to experience the unification from people to terroir to wine and is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Come and visit the Nest, the team are knowledgeable and engaging, sharing details and stories that bring the wines to life. Promising to be the highlight of your time in Franschhoek.

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