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Wine grape harvest is on the up although it’s still lower than in 2021

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After a slow start, harvest time is well under way, with more than half of South Africa’s 2022 wine grape crop already taken in at cellars.

Picture: AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

AFTER a slow start, harvest time is well under way with more than half of South Africa’s 2022 wine grape crop already having been taken in at cellars.

The crop is estimated to be smaller than in 2021, but larger than the five-year average.

“Although we started later than normal with the harvest, all 10 wine producing regions have harvested a significant amount of grapes at this stage, which gives a good indication of volumes being delivered to cellars up to now,” said Conrad Schutte, manager of Vinpro’s viticultural consulting service, which issued the fourth crop estimate with SAWIS (SA Wine Industry Information & Systems).

“The grape quality also looks good at this stage, which means that we can expect exceptional wines from the 2022 vintage.”

According to the WineMS information management software, about 65% of the average wine grape harvest that goes through its system annually has been taken in at cellars – almost a week later than normal.

The 2022 season was characterised by cooler weather conditions from winter to mid-December last year, which resulted in later than normal budding, flowering, veraison and ripening. Warm periods in December and January accelerated ripening, but the harvesting programme for most cultivars were still delayed by about seven to 10 days, Schutte said.

Although there is variation in the crop estimate per region, the total crop is expected to be smaller, due to the geographical diversity of the respective regions.

“The smaller harvest can mainly be attributed to showers in the Northern Cape and Klein Karoo that resulted in losses due to fungal diseases and rot; sunburn damage due to heat waves in the Swartland, Paarl and Robertson regions, as well as the uprooting of vineyards in certain regions due to financial considerations,” Schutte said.

The final crop estimate by viticulturists and producer cellars will be issued in May 2022, together with the official SA Wine Harvest Report

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