ICYMI: Mzansi expects smaller wine crop for 2022

South Africa's wine industry has released its first 2022 crop estimates. A good crop is on the cards, although smaller than that of 2021.

wine crop: Harvesting taking place at the Zandwijk Wine Farm. Photo: Supplied//Zandwijk Wine Farm

The wine industry is gearing up for good harvest season. Photo: Supplied//Zandwijk Wine Farm

South Africa’s initial wine industry crop estimates for 2022 point to a good, but somewhat smaller wine grape crop following a favourable and healthy season. This according to the first of four crop estimates issued by viticulturists and producer cellars.

According to Conrad Schutte, manager of Vinpro’s team of viticulturists, “At this very early stage the wine grape crop is estimated to be smaller than in 2021, but still larger than the five year industry average.”

Vinpro’s team of viticulturists is responsible for issuing the crop estimates with the industry body SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Information & Systems).

According to Schutte producers experienced an excellent winter. This he said was due to sufficient cold, as reflected by regular snowfall on mountain peaks.

Vinpro consultation service manager Conrad Schutte. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Availability of water

“Along with consistent rain which supplemented soil water levels and contributed to a substantial rise in Western Cape dam levels,” Schutte explained.

The collective dam level was at 81% by mid-September, just before the start of the 2022 growing season. In the wine grape cultivation areas of the Northern Cape, the water supply from the Vaal system also appear to be sufficient up until now.

The mostly cool spring and the wet soil conditions led to bud break generally occurring seven to 14 days later than normal, however budding was consistently good and even.

Although the initial growth was slow due to relatively cool conditions, warmer weather in November accelerated the growth rate and most vineyards were able to catch up during flowering, which occurred approximately five days later than normal.

“Due to the nature of the wine industry’s geographical distribution, variation in crop size is observed between the respective regions,” Schutte said.

“The nett decrease in the estimate is mainly attributed to vineyard uprootings, as well as below-average bunch numbers and sizes in certain regions and cultivars.

“Regions where vineyards had mostly undergone flowering before the cold, windy weather mid-November, as well as those with sufficient soil and irrigation water and an absence of fungal diseases, can expect a higher wine grape crop than in 2021.

“The season looks promising, but a lot could change leading up to the harvest,” Schutte said.  

The next crop estimate by viticulturists and producer cellars will be released in the third week of January 2022.

ALSO READ: Wine producers hoping to avoid another surplus crisis

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