Wine grape harvest smaller, but promising!

06 November 2013  by VinPro
The South African wine industry can look forward to a good, but smaller 2014 wine grape harvest than the record harvest obtained this year.
This according to a preliminary District Conditions: October2013 report released by Sawis (South African Wine Information and Systems), in collaboration with VinPro, the representative organisation for wine producers and cellars.
“We experienced a very good winter with sufficient cold weather and higher than average rainfall, which guaranteed favourable bud burst and resulted in large catchment and farm dams being full,” said Francois Viljoen, consultation service manager at VinPro.
Soil water content is also at full capacity, which bodes well for the season going forward.
Bud burst during spring was initially even; however a very cold, wet September – and extremely cold weather at the end of the month – resulted in later vineyards experiencing uneven budding. Bud burst was generally 7 to 10 days later than normal.
According to Viljoen, initial growth was slow due to the cold conditions and low temperatures in October, which was unusual for this time of the month. In many instances spraying programmes were delayed, with tractor access to vineyards being hampered by excessively wet soils. At the same time, snail populations appear to be a problem in some areas.
“It seems as though vineyard plantings are experiencing a revival and fewer vineyards are being uprooted; however a decreasing trend in total vineyard area over the past few years may still have a limiting effect on production,” he said.
Considerable frost damage along the Orange River during the last weekend in September will also have a substantial effect on this region’s wine grape harvest.
“Judging from the 2013 post-harvest period, the winter season, as well as the uprooting and planting trends in the regions, the crop is expected to be smaller than the record 2013 crop, but in most regions the seasonal conditions will nevertheless result in a good crop. However, the important flower and set period is still underway, and many variables, including climate, may have an influence on these preliminary observations during the next few months up until harvest time,” said Viljoen.
The full report, which provides an overview of the season and harvest expectations per district, can be downloaded from the Sawis website at
For more information, contact Jana Loots at tel 021 863 1027 or e-mail