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7/05/2015

Smaller, high quality South Africa harvest

The South African wine industry will remember the 2015 season as one of the driest and earliest in years, with a somewhat smaller wine grape harvest promising exceptional wines.

According to regional viticulturists of VinPro – the representative organisation for close to 3,500 winegrape producers and cellars – this year’s harvest kicked off two weeks earlier than usual.

Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro’s Consultation Service said the dry weather led to one of the healthiest seasons in years, with almost no losses due to disease or rot.

“The 2015 harvest had the earliest start in decades. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks,” said Viljoen.

The total harvest was expected to be one to two per cent smaller than the record harvest in 2014. The Worcester region harvested the largest wine grape crop in the area’s history, with Robertson also realising a larger harvest. The intake of winegrapes in the Orange River, Olifants River and Breedekloof regions was close to the same as in 2014 and somewhat smaller crops were harvested in the rest of the regions.

Dryland vineyards in the coastal regions were affected by water shortages due to the drier weather conditions. A channel break in the Olifants River region during January did not have a substantial effect on its production.

South Africa is the seventh largest wine producer globally and produces four per cent of the world’s wine. Close to 52 per cent of the country’s natural wine is exported and 48 per cent is sold locally.

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