Vintage Report 2004
2004 is looking like our best vintage to date.
At the beginning of April, we unearthed and woke up the vines after a long cold winter. By mid to late April, the vines started to sprout and the leaves to grow. This marked the beginning of another busy year for the viticulturists and growers.
In May, we spent much time inspecting each area of vines and conducting a detailed classification of the vineyard. By comparing the information at the beginning of each year, we are able to track every single step of the growing process for all vineyards and varieties. We also did a soil analysis in order to understand what types and quantities of organic fertilizer were needed for each plot of vineyard.
Based on last year’s record, we selected 57 acres to grow grapes for our reserve wine. At these vineyards, we kept six bunches of fruit per vine with an estimated yield of 2428kg per acre.
In July, our main task was to make sure all of our vineyards reached the target yield (by reducing crop load). Together with village and county government officers, we inspected vineyards and persuaded growers to follow our requirements. It was not an easy task as growers often felt it was a waste to cut fruit. However, with repeated visits and explanation, over 90% of the vineyards fulfilled our required yield.
In addition to yield control, the other important task was to prevent disease. We required to growers to cut all the leaves and fruit within 25cm of the ground allowing better air flow around the bunches.
August was the time we prepared for the harvest. We took random samples from each vineyard and variety to test the sugar, acidity, pH value, and color. Based on the analysis and the climate data, we estimated the harvest period.
On September 1, the Chardonnay grapes reached a bright golden color and had a attractive floral aroma. Its average sugar was 21.4, acidity was 4.87 and PH value was 3.31. M. Colin, our Winemaker, decided the grapes had reached their optimal maturity and we announced September 2 to be the beginning of our harvest season.
As always, harvest is a busy and exciting time of the year. Each day, the viticultural team went around the vineyards tasting and testing to decide which variety was ready for picking. Once decided, small baskets were distributed and matured grapes were handpicked and transported back to the winery.
2004 is probably the best vintage we have up to now. This is the result of our hard work, the dedication of our growers and the blessing of nature. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, reached an average of 22.5 degree of sugar, 2 degrees more than the previous year. The acidity of the fruit in general is about 7gram/litre.
The initial tasting is promising. 2004 vintage has rich tannins, round and balanced body, and a fruity aroma. We are pleased with the result and look forward to having you taste our wines once they are released. Thank you!
Grace Vineyard, Shanxi