This year, the first grapes on Sonberk began to be picked on August 31, and the next vintage season ended in mid-October 2023. This is the third earliest start date in the entire history of the winery, and overall, the harvest took place quickly, lasting exactly 23 working days. Winegrower Roman Slouk claims, however, that the year 2023 brought several challenges, but also several interesting experiences.
The weather dictated the pace, as always
One of the key factors that greatly influenced this year's vintage was the weather. After a hot summer, there was an unusually warm and dry September. And what does this mean for the grapes themselves? Winegrower Roman Slouk knows this for sure: "The weather increased sugar content and at the same time a decrease in the acid content in the grapes. Although the grapes looked nice and were free of rot and insect damage, we preferred to pick quickly to ensure that the wine maintains the quality we are used to at Sonberk.”
In the past, the Moravian Muscat harvest traditionally began the season, but since 2020 it has been overtaken by the Chardonnay variety. This is collected for sparkling wine, for which a sugar content of around 18 degrees on a standardized must-meter is required. Yes, you can look forward to another sparkling wine, but it will still take a year to produce it. But we will certainly inform you in time.
We faced some challenges
We also consider starlings to be a factor that affects the vintage. We observed their unusually large raid on one day when 3 people intervened the whole Sunday. In Sonberk, it sounded like a zoo. Why? A new player was used to scare away the starlings, which emit the sounds of predators. This intervention appeared to be successful and the vineyard was protected from their attacks, as the next few days saw little or no starlings.
Work in the vineyard begins again… Or rather, it never ends
Winegrower Roman Slouk evaluates this year's quality of the 2023 grapes as excellent, at the same time he has already drawn a thick line behind the 2023 vintage and is looking forward to the new 2024: "In the vineyards, we sow rye for green manure, we harrow and disk the grassy interrows with the aim of spring sowing with a multi-species herb mixture. " In addition, 5 hectares of vineyards are still being weeded, where the new composition of varieties is yet to be decided.
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