2009 wine grape harvest - smaller than in 2008


The 2009 wine grape harvest should amount to 1 322 490 tons, according to industry estimates

(producer cellars and viticultural consultants) on 28 November 2008. This represents a decrease of 7

per cent on the 2008 crop. The 2009 wine crop, including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic

purposes, wine for brandy and distilling wine, is expected to amount to 1 022.7 million litres, calculated

at an average recovery of 773 litres per ton of grapes.

Estimates indicate that the biggest decrease is likely to occur in the Orange River region (20 per cent),

mainly due to frost and hail damage, but also as a result of low Sultana yields, and in the Worcester

region (8 per cent), where fewer bunches on Chenin blanc and flood damage are the main causes.

The only region in which a bigger crop is expected at this stage is the Klein Karoo (5 per cent

increase), mainly due to a good winter and sufficient water supplies, while taking into account the flood

damage in the Montagu area.

In all other regions the 2009 crop is estimated to be between 3 and 6 per cent smaller than the 2008


The decrease in the crop may be ascribed to the following factors:

  • A cooler October/November during the bunch initiation period of the 2008 season
  • Cold and windy weather conditions during the flowering period, resulting in poor and uneven

fruit set

  • The Chenin blanc crop is expected to be smaller
  • Cooler weather conditions in October and November - the nights in particular were colder than usual.

This could impact negatively on the berry size, which in turn might have a positive

impact on the quality of the grapes.

The late cold during budding in September caused the season to be seven to fourteen days later than

usual. Vigorous growing conditions call for exceptional management input from vineyard managers.

Domestic sales of natural wine for the 12-month period from November 2007 to October 2008,

compared to the corresponding period the previous year, indicate that the market is stagnant at 313

million litres. Over the same period exports of natural wine increased by 33,3 per cent. Exports of bulk

wine increased by 63 per cent. Brandy sales show a 1,7 per cent decrease over the same period.

Expectations are that the economic slump will cause domestic sales of both wine and brandy to

stagnate in 2009, while the export of packaged wine will show moderate growth. Export of bulk wine

will be determined by availability of the product, but is expected to decrease.

Stock levels on 31 December 2009 at producer and private cellars are expected to decrease to 332.7

million litres, compared to 401.1 million litres on 31 December 2008.

For further enquiries contact Yvette van der Merwe (tel 021-807 5703, fax 021-807 6000, email