Healthy grape harvest

The 2003 wine grape harvest is estimated at 1 138 192 tons according to the industry's estimate of 14 February 2003. This represents an increase of 5,5 per cent compared to the 2002 harvest. It is expected that the 2003 wine harvest, including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, rebate and distilling wine, will amount to 874,1 million litres at an average recovery of 768 litres per ton of grapes. This is 31,6 million litres (3,5 per cent) less than the estimate of 10 January 2003.

The reason for the decrease is generally attributed to lighter bunch weights and the heat, which occurred in January and the first part of February. The biggest decrease is expected in the Orange River. The main reasons for this are the extremely favourable temperature for the production of raisins and the lower than expected sultana harvest.

Temperatures were very high in all the wine regions the past three weeks. Especially dry land vineyards are experiencing difficulties as a result of the lack of summer rain. Vineyards and grapes are, however, very healthy and the quality of the harvest is excellent.

Domestic sales of natural wine show a 1,4 per cent increase during 2002, compared to 2001. Exports of natural wine grew a spectacular 20,7 per cent for the corresponding periods. Measured over the same periods brandy sales increased by 0,7 per cent.

Above-mentioned, together with an expected larger market demand for rebate and distilling wine result in an estimated stock level at co-operatives and cellars of 190,3 million litres on 31 December 2003, compared to 221,5 million litres on 31 December 2002.

Issued by: Yvette Van Der Merwe for SAWIS (S A Wine Industry Information & Systems)
Contact: André Matthee, Chief Executive
Tel: +27 (0) 21 807-5719