W.C drought shrinks wine grape industry harvest

Published Jan 19, 2018


CAPE TOWN  - The South African wine industry predicts an even smaller than expected grape harvest this season due to the continuing Western Cape drought, the SA Wine Industry Information & Systems revealed.

VinPro, an industry organisation, explains that frost aside from the drought - frost and hail are other factors which have impacted on this season's crop harvest.

Francois Viljoen, consultation service manager for Vinpro said the declining trend predicted in the past two months can be mainly attributed to the warm and dry weather conditions which occurred early December.

Viljoen added that no rain during this period, and high temperatures exceeding 35 degrees celsius were recorded.

In a statement the VinPro said, "most producers depend on irrigation schemes that have been rationed early in the 2017 growing season".

Meanwhile, some farmers around the City of Cape Town jurisdiction say that the drought charge proposed by the City shouldn't affect them as they are not using the municipal water, but borehole water for their production.

ALSO READ: Borehole water or not, farmers should pay extra for water - City of Cape Town

According to Wines of South Africa, in regards to global wine production, SA ranks as seventh in overall volume production of wine, producing 3.9% of the world's wine, as of 2016 statistics.

Managing Director at VinPro, Rico Basson said, "This challenging season does have a negative impact on producers' income potential, but lower stock levels and smaller international crop yields now also provide the opportunity to give momentum to a structural income adjustment".

ALSO READ: Wine industry braces for effects of drought

Basson also feared that seasonal employment opportunities will be cut significantly because of smaller harvest which will have a negative effect on the socio-economic prosperity of wine industry communities.

Wine Cellar director, Roland Peens predicted that yields in the wine beverage market will be down as much as 25% to 50% in 2018.

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