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2018 Harvest set to be lower due to drought

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Drought. The one word on everyone’s lips this year. With the Cape winelands declared a disaster area in May last year due to the severe drought, the world’s seventh biggest wine producer is expected to see the smallest harvest in more than a decade.

The 2018 South African harvest is going to be much smaller than the 1.4 million tonnes produced in 2017 according to a survey conducted by the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (Sawis).

Saws CEO Yvette van der Merle says that the crop could be even smaller in certain areas if those areas do not get any rain.

Another industry body, VinPro, expects the crop to be the smallest since 2005 when 1.1 million tonnes were harvested due to drought and in some areas, diseases.

Wine grape producers’ water resources were cut by 40% to 60% and as a result they could not meet their vines’ water demand according to VinPro’s Francois Viljoen.

The harvest has already started in some areas with the bulk of the harvest to happen between February and March.

South Africa’s wine industry, which exports 440 million litres of wine a year and sells 400 million litres locally, could see higher prices as a result of the reduced output this year. This rise in in prices will eventually be passed on to the consumer. Harsh weather in western Europe that damaged vineyards will result in lower global production figures as well.