Decrease in grape harvest

The 2007 wine grape harvest, in full swing at the moment, should be completed earlier than the norm, which means the SA wines will be the first of the 2007 vintage to hit Europe for summer.

Compared to the five year average and to the original forecast, the crop now appears to be slightly smaller. A harvest estimate survey conducted in the various regions during the second week of February, shows that the harvest will be approximately 0.5 per cent smaller than the 2006 harvest, with the early white wine cultivars displaying the biggest decrease. The 2007 wine harvest should amount to 966 million litres.

The wine grape areas of the Western Cape experienced very favourable weather conditions for the greatest part of the season. Just before harvesting commenced a period of very hot weather was experienced, but was followed by very welcome widespread rains which had a cooling effect and allowed the vineyards to recover before the harvest started in earnest.

Vineyards on deep soils, those in the cooler regions and those with well managed leaf canopies were hardly affected by the heat and a normal harvest of good quality is expected from them. Vineyards on shallow and/or light coloured soils which normally have low water retention capacities, developed some water stress and were therefore somewhat negatively affected by the hot period.

A decrease in the stock level at producer and private cellars is expected. Estimates indicate a likely figure of 343,8 million litres on 31 December 2007,compared to 382,0 million litres on 31 December 2006.

WOSA (Wines of South Africa) is optimistic that both local and international trading conditions for our wine appear to be improving, and anticipates a far better year than in 2006.

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