South African Wine Harvest Report 2003 - Klein Karoo

Production trends
The 2003 crop amounts to 41 306 tons, representing a 1.7% decrease compared to 2002. Colombar and Chenin blanc in particular produced smaller crops, due to drought conditions. Red wine production was generally higher than in 2002 as a result of young red wine grape plantings that have come into production.

Climatic conditions and influence on vine growth 
The 2003 season was preceded by a very cold winter. High snowfall occurred regularly throughout winter until September. This resulted in sufficient accumulation of reserves. Although winter rainfall was sufficient, the soil water was not entirely replenished and the growing season kicked off with relatively dry soils. 

Initial growth of the vineyards was very good. Heavy and regular wind conditions occurred during the flowering period, resulting in unevenness, in the late cultivars especially. 

The Klein Karoo was generally very warm and dry and some parts, especially in the vicinity of Montagu, suffered the worst drought conditions in years. There were serious heatwaves with no rain in February. 

Good rains fell throughout the Klein Karoo on 22 and 23 March, towards the end of the pressing season. In Montagu, from 70 mm to more than 300 mm was measured, causing flood damage to orchards and vineyards in the low-lying areas along the Kingna River. In the rest of the Klein Karoo erosion and wind damage were recorded. 

Grape and wine quality
In general it was a very healthy season, characterised by the absence of diseases and pests.

Wine quality looks very promising, with the red wines in particular showing very good colour. 

Issued by: Yvette van der Merwe, Manager: Information Services - SAWIS (S A Wine Industry Information & Systems)
Tel: +27 (0) 21 807-5719