JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s wine grape crop hit record a record low since 2015 dragged by the preceding three year drought and fluctuating weather conditions, the latest estimate by the South African Wine Industry Information & Systems (Sawis) said on Monday.

Sawis said in a report published last month  that the 2019 wine grape crop was 1 225 620 tons, and although only it was 1.4 percent  lower than last year, the crop had shrunk for the second consecutive year. 

It said  2019 represented a record low since 2005 when 1 171 632 tons were harvested.

“It has been a trying year for our wine grape producers and wineries. A decline in area under vines and challenging weather conditions contributed to the smaller harvest,” said Francois Viljoen, a viticultural consultation service manager at Vinpro, which represents 2 500 South African wine grape producers, wineries and wine-related businesses. 

“2019 tells the tale of two harvesting seasons – the first easy with good weather conditions and great grape analyses up until the end of February, and the second challenging, characterised by slow ripening following cold, rainy weather in March,” Viljoen said.