And just like that, harvest 2023 has officially come to an end. There has been a lot of activity around here over the past month and a half. Grapes have been hand picked, hand sorted, fermented, pressed, and transferred to barrel.
Many long nights and days of running on very little sleep are all worth it in the end.
The team and vines are now getting a well deserved break as we reflect on what was yet another successful harvest.

The quality of the grapes received this year was excellent. There was an overall improvement in the analysis of the bunches. We had four of our new young blocks that came into production, which meant that we got sixty more tons than usual. We were also very happy with these new younger blocks as they are looking very promising.
This year the weather conditions were perfect for picking and we finished just in time for the unexpected summer rains. We were also very lucky not to deal with any diseases in the vineyards.
Although we had a bit of a build up towards the end of harvest, with many of the blocks needing to be picked at the same time, with hard work
from our field and picking team as well as our cellar team, we managed to get all the grapes down in time. 
It is still quite something to look back on a successful harvest, as it is the height of months of hard work, long days and serious preparation all executed in this moment. But with the team
behind Rijk’s we can always say “We love it when a plan comes together”.  
This year we had our usual cellar team as well as two harvest interns, Marie, from Spain and Rafael from Mexico. After a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we are happy with this years harvest!  2023 has been a bumper harvest year, much bigger than the previous years at Rijk’s.  
Currently all the Chenin blanc has finished with fermentation and the Pinotage has been busy with malolactic fermentation in the barrel.  This process will be carefully and closely monitored until it is time to do another racking, start blending and then put them back into barrels for proper maturation.  
This year we started experimenting a bit more in the cellar with new yeast strains, a lot of spontaneous fermentations and new French Coopers for our barrel fermented Chenin blanc and Pinotage. We can’t wait to see what this will bring to the table when we start blending!
It is now time for the cellar team to start preparing for the next big bottlings, labellings and many new export orders that lies ahead for us.  Hopefully the excellent harvest we had is an indication of the many good things still to come in 2023!

We would like to take a moment to say thank you to our incredible, hard-working team. Without them, we would not have been able to complete harvest. They are relentless in their work and show such a passion in what they do. From the pickers, to the tractor drivers, the sorters, all the way through to our cellar team. Each one playing a crucial role in the process. They are the driving force behind the wine we all get to enjoy in the bottle. They will all take a very well deserved rest and get ready to start preparing for the next vintage soon.

Last, but certainly not least, it is important not to forget to pay our respects to our vineyards. We are extremely grateful and privileged to get to work alongside nature. The leaves of the vines have very slowly started to change to the beautiful colours of autumn and now get to rest over the winter months to strengthen for another season.