South African Wine Harvest Report 2003 - Orange River

Production trends
The Below Orange River area pressed approximately 141 320 tons, which is 18.5% less than the record crop of 2002. A considerably smaller volume of Sultanas was pressed, due to a poor crop and ideal drying climate. The yields of the wine grape cultivars, Hanepoot in particular, were also a lot smaller.

Climatic conditions and influence on vine growth 
Late downy mildew and frost early in May caused poor accumulation of reserves. Delayed budding and growth arrest were common. During the flowering period, conditions were very warm and windy, resulting in poor set. Temperatures were high from end December to February, which had a negative influence on berry development during veraison. Bunches were lighter than they seemed.
Sporadic rainfall occurred throughout the area from 11 to 24 February and there was never any shortage of irrigation water. The cellars at Hartswater, Landzicht and Douglas were affected by frost damage in October, resulting in smaller crops.

Grape and wine quality
The area was practically disease-free. Grapes were healthy with good sugars and quality. Colombar and Chenin blanc in particular look very promising. The red cultivars, although limited in volume, should be very good.

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