The La Vierge wine estate, which can be found in the folds of the magnificent Hemel-en-Aarde Valley just outside Hermanus, is a prime location to grow and harvest high quality grapes for spectacular wines such as the famous Pinot Noir.
What affects the quality of the grapes?
The viticulture (the way the grapes are grown) and the vinification (how the grapes are made into wine) are the two main factors that affect the quality of wine.
La Vierge is situated on the rolling slopes of the lush Hemel-en-Aarde valley. Hill sides and slopes are preferred over plains as the sun rays are stronger if they fall at an angle as compared to that on a level surface. Due to the slant, the soil also doesn’t retain a lot of moisture as the water trickles down once it reaches the slope which is a favorable condition for vineyards to grow in.
At La Vierge, the vines are planted more closely together which increases competition and decreases the size of the vines and crops. These smaller crops allow greater concentration of flavor, texture and complexity in the wines.
The La Vierge vineyards are positioned on Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge where the long cool summers and the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean provide the ideal environment for cultivating vines. This is as a grape is primarily a temperate zone plant. Climate strongly influences the fruit. The perfect season to grow the fruit is summer. This is as the prolonged heat and warmth enables the fruit to ripen consistently and maintain its acid to sugar level balance. Sunlight is very significant to the grapes; a variation in this factor will result in different types of grapes. Alternatively a lack sunshine, hail, frost and heavy mists will ruin the crop. The average temperature for a good harvest must be from 10⁰ C to 20⁰ C. Humidity from 60% to 80% is ideal; more than that could result in crop diseases. Rainfall of approximately 27 inches all year round is desired during the crop maturing time. Rains during the harvest attract fungal diseases, rot and mildew.
The soil is the basis to any crop and therefore, it applies to wine grape production too. The soil composition governs the minerality, temperature, root penetration, water retention and nutrition of the vineyards. The ideal soil for the grapes must be good enough to retain heat and water (but not too much) and it should also consist of calcium, iron, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphates and potassium. Some of the vineyard soil types are: limestone, alluvial, clay and volcanic.
La Vierge is a place of distinction, where we celebrate outstanding Pinot Noir wines, wines of desire.
Characteristics of a good quality grape
Grape species differ from each other in terms of color, size and shape. A good quality wine grape has a balanced juice composition, aroma and flavor. The ripening time, disease resistance, climatic conditions and soil composition are few deciding factors for a good harvest.
Keeping the vine disease-free is what makes all the difference to the quality of the fruit and ultimately the wine. Harvesting only the ripest grapes and delivering them swiftly to the winery to limit oxidization also contributes to the quality of the wine. All the best vineyards have yields as low as 30 hectoliters per hectare opposed to the low-quality vineyards which have around 100 hectoliters per hectare. The lower the yield of grape bunches per vine also create a more intense flavor.
To indulge in the La Vierge wine experience, contact us now and book for a wine tasting. We invite you into our world of indulgence without fear of retribution and believe that, as Oscar Wilde put it: