SOUTH African wine grape producers expected a smaller wine grape crop this harvesting season mainly due to a decrease in vineyards, high disease pressure and heatwaves in certain regions.
This was according to the second of four crop estimates by viticulturists and producer cellars in the third week of January.
Vinpro’s team of viticulturists manager Conrad Schutte said yesterday that at this early stage, they expected this year’s wine grape crop to be smaller than last year. Schutte issues the crop estimates together with industry body South African Wine Industry Information & Systems (Sawis).
“The South African wine industry is spread over a wide range of cultivation areas throughout the Western and Northern Cape, with often diverse climatic conditions. Because of this variation, the crop is estimated upwards and others downwards in the respective regions,” Schutte said.
The harvest is estimated to be smaller in most wine grape growing regions, except for Stellenbosch, the Cape South Coast and Klein Karoo. This was attributed to the overall decline in the 2022 wine grape crop to vineyards being uprooted in especially the Northern Cape, Olifants River and Robertson regions, as well as high downy mildew and powdery mildew infections in some of these regions. The ripening period was cooler than normal, but heatwaves in December and January caught some vineyards off guard, causing sunburn damage to grapes.
Other than that, wine grape producers were said to have experienced an exceptional season with winter conditions being excellent, characterised by mostly above-average cold units – as reflected by frequent snowfall on mountain peaks along with higher-than-normal rainfall that supplemented groundwater levels.
The next crop estimate by viticulturists and producer cellars would be released in the third week of February 2022.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE