2011 Wine Grape Crop - bigger than 2010 in all districts, except Orange River



The 2011 wine grape crop should amount to 1 351 993 tons, according to the crop estimate by the industry (producer cellars and viticultural consultants) on 30 November 2010. This represents an increase of 7.3% compared to the 2010 crop, but is nevertheless 5.2% smaller than the record crop in 2008. The 2011 wine grape crop - including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and distilling wine - is expected to amount to 1 043.7 million litres, calculated at an average recovery of 772 litres per ton of grapes.

In all wine regions, except the Orange River region, the estimated increase should be between 4% and 18% compared to the 2010 crop. This year again sees the alternating up-and-down trend which is characteristic of the crop in the Orange River region. Following the fairly big 2010 crop, the 2011 crop is estimated to be approximately 9% smaller.

The reasons for the good crop expectations are mainly due to the smaller yields of 2010, a favourable post-harvest autumn period in 2010 with good accumulation of reserves in the grapevines, sufficient winter cold and subsequently a good budding percentage. So far the climate has been mild, resulting in very good growing conditions; up to now the grapevines have been very healthy and no fungal diseases or serious outbreaks of pests have been observed. Gale force winds which caused considerable crop losses in 2009 have been absent this year. Fluctuating weather conditions during the flowering period caused slightly uneven fruit set and looser bunches in later cultivars especially, the effect of which will only be seen later in the season.

Domestic sales of natural wine for the 12-month period November 2009 to October 2010 indicate that the market increased by 1.6% to 299 million litres, compared to the corresponding period the previous year. Exports of natural wine during the same period decreased by 3.3%, with both packaged and bulk wine showing negative growth trends. The strong exchange rate, the economic turmoil in South Africa's main export markets, and the non-profitability of our wines in a key market such as the UK will be determining factors in future wine exports and make sales forecasts almost impossible.

The stock level on 31 December 2011 at producer and private cellars is expected to increase to 393.4 million litres, compared to 348.8 million litres on 31 December 2010.

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