Irrigation

Water in the Western Cape is scarce. At Rijk's Private Cellar we use our water as efficiently as possible. As outlined previously in 'the growing season' we use regulated deficit irrigation to improve the quality of the grapes and thereby save water.

Water in the Western Cape is scarce. At Rijk’s Private Cellar we use our water as efficiently as possible. As outlined previously in 'the growing season' we use regulated deficit irrigation to improve the quality of the grapes and thereby save water.

Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI)
To use RDI, you must have soils that dry out quickly and drain well - our soils do this. And you must be able to monitor the soil moisture in each block so you know when to irrigate. Every Monday morning we dig by hand 3 holes in each block to a depth of 900 mm. We then rate the soil as 0 for completely dry to 10 if saturated with water. This is all then logged, and together with the state of the vine, tendrils, and water in the soil, we can then make decisions as to when and how much to irrigate.

Why do we do all this?
In the growth stage of the vine and the bunch development of each season, the vine needs water and nutrients from the soil to produce strong shoots with lots of leaves. The leaves are the 'factory' that the grapes need to produce exellent grapes. When the bunches reach 'pea size', cell multiplication takes place and the bunches get bigger, more juicy and sugar starts forming. At this point, depending on the cultivar, we stress the vine by restricting water and nutrients to the root zone.

The effect

By stressing the grapes between pea size and veraison, we get small tight bunches, small berries, reduced amounts of juice in the grape, and reduced tonnages. The ratio of juice to skins of the berry is also reduced. This results in thicker skins, giving ripe fruit flavours, fully concentrated grapes. And then picked at optimum ripeness, the rewards of our efforts are reflected in the wines.

Herbicides and Pesticides
Because of our open canopy, plenty of wind, and little or no summer rain (which cause disease), very little herbicide or pesticide is required. Spraying is done on a limited and preventative basis only.

This is strictly monitored.

Rijks
+27.232301622