The South African wine industry anticipates a promising 2021 wine grape harvest, according to the industry’s first crop estimate. Picture: Neil Baynes
The South African wine industry anticipates a promising 2021 wine grape harvest, according to the industry’s first crop estimate. Picture: Neil Baynes

Wine sector expecting a better year ahead

By Edward West Time of article published Dec 18, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The South African wine industry anticipates a promising 2021 wine grape harvest, according to the industry’s first crop estimate.

According to industry bodies Sawis (SA Wine Industry Information & Systems) and Vinpro, winemakers and viticulturists were positive about the quality of the crop, and at this early stage estimated a wine grape crop bordering on the 2020 figure of close to 1.3 million tons.

“The December estimate is the first of four crop estimates conducted annually,” said Vinpro viticulture consultation services division manager Conrad Schutte in a statement on Thursday.

“If the rest of the growth and ripening phase goes smoothly, the harvest could possibly be somewhat larger than in 2020, but still lower than the 10-year average.”

The Western Cape experienced good rainfall during the winter months and dam levels rose well. “At the beginning of the growing season, in mid-September 2020, the major dams were 98 percent full – a significant improvement on the past two years,” Conrad said.

The Clanwilliam Dam stood at 90 percent compared to 76 percent in 2019. At this stage water was also not a problem in the Orange River and soil profiles were “quite saturated”, but the river level was significantly lower than last year at the same time, he said.

The Little Karoo was better off in terms of water supply compared to the end of 2019, but continued to suffer from drought, which rendered further rainfall from the South East crucial for good production in this area.

In the Robertson region, most producers received water from the Brandvlei Dam, which was fuller than last year, and the forecast was also more positive for producers who depend on mountain run-off water.

Vinpro managing director, Rico Basson said it would still take some time for the industry to recover from Covid-19 lockdown related slump in sales in 2020, but year-to-date export volumes had been maintained at the same level as in 2019, while local sales volumes had started to recover over the past two months.

BUSINESS REPORT

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