South African Wine Harvest Report 2003 - Olifants River

Production trends
The total crop will probably amount to more than 198 061 tons, the biggest ever in the region. Colombar, Chenin blanc and Hanepoot produced excellent crops, new plantings started bearing and optimum weather conditions reigned throughout the growing season. Like last year, Chardonnay fared extremely well, due to winter chill at the right time.

Red grape production increased from 14% in 2002 to 17% in 2003. More than 8 600 tons were delivered to cellars in the Boland, approximately 6 100 tons of which were red grapes, once again confirming the region's potential for the cultivation of quality red grapes.

Climatic conditions and influence on vine growth 
The cooler ripening period caused cultivars to ripen more slowly, which enabled cellars to cope with the record crop. At 22.48°C the average February temperature was almost 2°C lower than last year's average of 24.23°C. In places, average temperatures of below 19°C were recorded. 

Bunch masses of red grapes were considerably lighter than the long-term averages, especially in Shiraz and also certain Pinotage blocks. Large numbers of small, hard, green berries occurred in Pinotage and Shiraz especially. 

Organic production increased significantly, with approximately 1 000 tons more than in 2002. A large percentage of these grapes were delivered to cellars in the Boland.

Grape and wine quality
The quality of the red and early white cultivars in particular is expected to be very good. Wines of above-average quality should be produced.

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