Constantia Glen’s rolling vineyards on sheltered slopes protected from gale force winds and a dry, scorching summer, have rewarded the winemaking team with exceptional quality grapes.
Champions of cool climate Sauvignon Blancs and elegant Bordeaux-style reds, the Constantia Glen vines have thrived despite the drought conditions and relentless south-easterly winds that have branded the 2016 harvest as one of the most challenging in decades.
With the harvest commencing with a fine cache of Sauvignon Blanc on 15 February 2016, Constantia Glen is nearly a month behind warmer wine growing areas such as Stellenbosch and around 10 days later than neighbouring properties. The remarkably cool and sheltered Constantial Glen micro-climate allows the grapes to take several weeks longer to reach their full potential.
This year’s crops have flourished from the lower than usual summer rainfall, benefitting from the more favourable soil-moisture content for optimal reproductive growth of the vineyards and subsequent slow ripening of the grapes.
“Constantia Glen is fortunate to be cradled below Constantia Nek where most of the vineyards are not exposed to the buffeting south-easter, but rather benefit from the milder winds off False Bay. We have not experienced the severe wind damage seen on some of the farms higher up on the Constantiaberg,” says Winemaker Justin Van Wyk.
The Constantia Glen vines are all dryland farmed as a result of the deep, rich granite and sandstone soils with a clay base that retains moisture for long periods of time. These deep soils take longer to warm up in the spring, which typically makes the Constantia Glen season slightly later than other vineyards in the region.
“Another reason for our late start with harvest is the cooler climatic conditions of Constantia that allow for slow gentle ripening of the grapes, allowing for sufficient physiological ripeness of the berries at the time of picking,” adds van Wyk.