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The South African wine industry can expect a smaller wine grape harvest in 2016, should the dry seasonal conditions persist in November.
by VinPro - The South African wine industry will remember the 2015 season as one of the driest and earliest in years, with a somewhat smaller wine grape harvest promising exceptional wines.
Saturday 28 February was a perfect Cape summer’s day –blue skies, barely a breeze, a warm sun and bewitching scenery. Buitenverwachting’s spacious lawns were crowded with wine lovers enjoying fine wines from many of the Cape’s top producers and food from renowned chefs at the annual Constantia Fresh. No one had any idea that within 24 hours a fire, started somewhere on the mountains above Muizenberg, would be raging along the Peninsula mountain range, towards Noordhoek on the one side, Constantia Valley on the other, and with many wine farms in its path.
From the coast to further inland. Do things change? Happily, no. Andrea Mullineux of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines in the Swartland kindly took off a few minutes from late-night pressing and filling of barrels to confirm that the harvest is “fast and furious”. “The harvest’s not just early, it’s compact,” she explains. “We started two weeks early but will finish three to four weeks early too!” The last grapes came in on 12 February. The fruit is concentrated, healthy and ripe at lower Balling levels. Skins of white varieties are slightly more phenolic; reds have thick skins and big tannins. Juice recovery is lower. She attributes all to a dry spring.
Extraordinary. It’s a word that even mid-harvest may be applied with some confidence, especially in relation to the early start. Hardly had winemakers returned from Christmas and New Year holidays than they had to don their winemaking gear, ready to receive the first grapes.
The South African wine industry has harvested nearly half of what is expected to be a very promising 2015 wine grape crop