Despite a slow start to the harvest season, more than half of South Africa’s 2022 wine grape crop has already been taken in at local cellars. With grape quality looking good, exceptional wines are expected from the 2022 vintage.
According to South Africa’s wine industry body Vinpro, the local wine grape harvest has passed the halfway mark. Despite the total crop estimated to be smaller than in 2021, it is still larger than the five-year average.
According to Conrad Schutte, manager of Vinpro’s viticulture consulting service, farmers started later than normal with the harvest. Despite this, “all ten 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”.
Vinpro’s viticulture consulting service has issued its fourth crop estimate with South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (Sawis). “The grape quality also looks good at this stage, which means that we can expect exceptional wines from the 2022 vintage,” Schutte says.
Final crop estimation to be released soon
The coastal regions are closest to harvesting their last grapes. “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,” says Christo Spies, WineMS CEO.
The 2022 season has been characterised by cooler weather conditions from winter to mid-December last year. This resulted in later than normal budding, flowering, veraison (the onset of grape ripening) and full ripening.
Furthermore, warm periods in December and January accelerated ripening, but the harvesting programmes for most cultivars were still delayed by about seven to ten days.
According to Vinpro, the total crop is expected to be smaller despite variation from region to region 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; and the uprooting of vineyards in certain regions due to financial considerations,” Schutte explains.
On the other hand, favourable growth conditions, effective fungal disease control and sufficient irrigation water have thus far contributed to a bigger harvest in Stellenbosch and the Cape South Coast.
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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