Vintage Report 2003
“Cherished by nature, blossomed by virtue” is the best term to describe 2003 Grace Vineyard vintage.
Some snow and rain at the end of 2002 added to the soil moisture reserves for the 2003 growing season. The weather was humid and cold when the young buds emerged from the soil and a small section of vines were badly affected by the night frost. Fortunately, the weather then stabilized in April and vines were able to develop normally with the grapes progressing normally to flowering. The viticulturists started fertilizing, stacking, pruning and positioning.
New System Introduced
This year, we implemented a new data recording system. At the beginning of May, we classified our 1,030 acres of vineyards and 355 viticulturists into 16 regions according to the variety and terroir. The data was updated bi-weekly to ensure a more accurate analysis and comparison between regions, varieties and viticulturists. At the same time, information can now be retrieved more quickly.
Preparation for the Yield
At the beginning of July, all the vines were pruned under the supervision of M. Colin, our winemaker to control the yield. Only 6 bunches were left on each vine reducing the yield to 400kg per hectare.
Mid-July to late August was the busy preparation time for the harvest. To ensure we harvest at our grapes’ optimum maturity, we collect each variety for analysis, and closely monitor the weather forecast. Based on this information, we decided on the ideal timetable for the harvest.
On August 26, the sugar level of Chardonnay reached 20.3 Brix, the acidity was 5.1g/L, and the pH value was 3.32. The grape flavour was also good and M. Colin decided to harvest on the next day. This led to the golden harvest of Grace Vineyard in 2003.
August 27 was the perfect day to harvest Chardonnay. The growers arrived at the vineyards early in the morning. Once the dew dried up, they started hand-picking and transporting the grapes in small baskets to the winery for M. Colin to examine and grade. The grapes were then pressed and fermented separately according to their classification.
Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon were then picked, and the whole harvest ended on October 16.
This year, the quality of our grape was better than last year despite the unstable conditions. The reasons behind this improvement are the close relationship we had with our viticulturists and our dedication and passion toward making top quality wine. The average sugar level this year has increased by one degree for all grapes. Merlot averaged 22, with a maximum of 24. Cabernet Sauvignon also achieved a better-than-usual of more than 20 Brix.
Having said that, it will be a couple of months before we can deliver verdict on our 2003 vintage. The initial tasting is promising and reveals a fruity aroma and good color; the attack is balance with abundant tannin. The body is strong, powerful and full.
We looking forward to having you taste our wines once they are released. Thank you.
Grace Vineyard, Shanxi