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2017 SA Wine grape harvest excels despite drought

At 1 425 283 tonnes, the 2017 wine grape harvest is bigger than what was anticipated and also larger than the 2016 harvest by 1.4%.

Expected to be smaller than the 2016 harvest because of the crippling drought, the 2017 harvest has turned out to be 1.4% bigger. Cooler nights throughout the season and the absence of significant heat waves during harvest time buffered the effect of the drought to some extent according to Francois Viljoen, manager of VINPRO’s viticulture consultation service.

Although certain regions experienced higher rainfall, the total rainfall was well below average and the warmer weather conditions meant producers had to manage their water usage carefully.

A plus was that the hot dry conditions resulted in very healthy vineyards and smaller berries with good colour and flavour concentration. This, along with the cool weather during harvest formed the perfect combination for an exceptional grape harvest says Viljoen.

All indications are that the 2017 vintage is going to be an exceptional one with winemakers from many areas commenting positively on the quality of the harvest.