In the grips of a drought, South African wine lovers should brace themselves for a drop in yield and possibly few bottles of your favourite tipple on the bottle store shelves.
Yields in the wine beverage market will be down as much as 25% to 50% next year, says Wine Cellar Director Roland Peens.
He says he canvassed the opinions of of two major players who confirmed the grim news.
A significant drop in yield on an already unprofitable model, means the industry will take a serious hit in 2018.
The lack of rain during winter has left vines across the Cape without the required water reserves through summer.
Water quotas have also been slashed, meaning high-yielding vineyards from inland regions that produce the majority of SA wine, will struggle to cope.
Jaco Engelbrecht, a leading independent viticulturist says it’s difficult to predict the yields at this early stage.
Vineyards in Stellenbosch and Paarl seem to be handling the lack of water, saying that the vine is far more resilient than we think.
Black frost damage, specifically in the Breedekloof, disease pressure from small amounts of rain, and the continued drought will however decrease overall volumes and increase costs. Unlike profitable fruit or nut production, South African wine has Chilean, Australian or even Chinese substitutes if the prices are nudged just a few percent.
Meanwhile, the promotion of South African wines in London recently at the ‘New Wave’ South Africa Tasting, paints a different picture entirely.
Here, three vintage upstarts poured wines alongside decades old, prestigious producers, creating an incredible buzz across the world of wine. From revolutionaries like Eben Sadie and Marc Kent, to pinnacle properties of De Morgenzon and Newton Johnson, the small tasting added further credibility to the notion – South Africa is the most exciting country in the world of wine right now.
So it’s not all bad news.