South African wine harvest report

The South African wine industry expects an average sized, good quality wine grape harvest, with exceptional harvests especially in the coastal regions.

The predications come from VinPro, the organisation that represents the interests of approximately 3,600 South African wine producers and cellars.

It states the harvest commenced one to two weeks later than normal, due to late, cold winter conditions and a cooler spring. High rainfall mid-November and in January led to producers having to irrigate much less, but applying stricter disease control measures at higher input costs to limit losses.

It says: “Above average yields of exceptional quality were specifically obtained in the coastal regions, while irrigated areas also achieved good crops despite loss due to rot. The effect of a greater drive from producers to increase production and enhance profitability is evident from increased crop levels.”

The Orange River experienced the greatest frost damage in years, which had a substantial effect on the harvest.

The total harvest will be approximately 2.6% smaller than the record harvest in 2013 and consumers can look forward to high quality wines from the 2014 harvest year, according to VinPro.

Crop size* – The 2014 wine grape crop is expected to reach 1,459 636 tons according to the latest estimate (April) of the SA Wine Industry Information and Systems (Sawis).

The 2014 wine harvest – including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and distilling wine – is expected to amount to 1,130.5m litres, calculated at an average recovery of 774 litres per ton of grapes.

2013/14 Growing season – A very good cold and wet winter filled water supplies to capacity, ensuring even bud burst.

The VinPro report says: “Producers, viticulturists and winemakers look forward to a promising harvest with regard to quality. Moderate climate conditions during the harvest season contributed to intense colour, exceptional flavour and good structure in the red cultivars. White wines are expected to be particularly fruity and tropical, with fresh characteristics.”

* Crop sizes are based on the Sawis estimate of 30 April 2014.