Harvest late, but wines look promising

The 2013 season is coming to an end after a slow start and although the wine grape harvest will be smaller in some districts, the industry anticipates good quality wines. This according to Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro’s consultation service.

At the end of March the total 2013 harvest was expected to reach close to 1 403 664 tons – 8 500 tons more than in 2012.

“The harvest started at least seven days later than last year in most districts, and in some cases even 14 days late. However, as the season progressed, the later cultivars started ripening on time, putting great pressure on cellars by the end of March – especially with regard to fermentation space,” explained Viljoen.

Hot weather respectively during middle January, and at the beginning of March sped up ripening, while rain in February at the same time relieved stress in dryland vineyards in Darling and Malmesbury and led to rot and somewhat lower productions in Stellenbosch.

The Orange River district expects a larger harvest than last year when rot was a challenge. Olifants River, Paarl and Malmesbury also look forward to larger harvests, while Klein Karoo and Stellenbosch expect a slight decrease. The Robertson, Worcester and Breedekloof areas had large harvests in 2012 and initially expected much smaller harvests, but as the season progressed both Worcester and Robertson became more hopeful and amended their estimates somewhat.

“Winemakers look forward to a promising year, especially with regard to early white cultivars. The colour on red cultivars is exceptional, as well as the analyses with regard to sugar, acidity and pH. Pinotage is in its element this year, with good yields expected throughout the winelands,” said Viljoen.

A full harvest report will released early May.