2008 Wine Grape Crop Same Size as in 2007

The 2008 wine grape crop will likely amount to 1 357 169 tons, according to estimates by the industry (producer cellars and viticulturists) on 27 November 2007. This represents a slight increase of 0.4% compared to the 2007 crop. The 2008 wine harvest, which includes juice and concentrate for nonalcoholic purposes, rebate and distilling wine, should amount to 1 053.2 million litres, calculated at an average recovery rate of 776 litres per ton of grapes.

Bigger crops are expected in the Orange River and Stellenbosch regions especially, while the biggest decrease is foreseen in the Little Karoo and Worcester/Breedekloof regions. In all the other regions the crop size is estimated to be more or less the same, or marginally bigger than the previous vintage.

Reasons for the bigger crop are:

  • one of the best winter seasons in years with regard to cold and rain, together with sufficient water supply for the 2008 season
  • vineyards are budding well with vigorous growth
  • good bunch / crop load on practically all cultivars
  • an increase in the total number of vines, despite indications that uprootings exceeded plantings in 2006

Factors which may impact negatively on the size of the crop, are:

  • in certain regions where record crops were harvested in 2007, a decrease is expected, which is quite natural
  • cold and windy conditions during the flowering period in November may have affected fruit set in the later cultivars adversely
  • frost during September and October in parts of the Little Karoo caused crop losses

This estimate was done before the heavy showers and cold which occurred throughout most of the Western Cape, but in the Breede River and Overberg regions especially.

Domestic sales of natural wine show a 4,8 per cent increase for the twelve month period from November 2006 to October 2007, compared to the corresponding period the previous year. Exports of natural wine during the same period increased by an impressive 14,3 per cent. Domestic sales of wine (natural, sparkling and fortified) are expected to increase by 1,4 per cent in 2008, and exports of wine by beween 6 and 9 per cent. Brandy sales will probably not show any growth in 2007 and an increase of only 1,9 per cent is estimated for 2008.

The stock level at producer and private cellars on 31 December 2008 is expected to increase to 469,8 million litres, compared to 454,7 million litres on 31 December 2007.

For further enquiries contact Yvette van der Merwe (tel 021-807 5703, fax 021-807 6000, email yvette@sawis.co.za).