Nov 11, 2011
Larger wine grape harvest despite climate challengesBack
Breedekloof|Worcester|Africa|Orange River Wine Cellars|PROJECT|Systems|Water|Africa|South Africa|Service|Services|Systems|Wine Producer|Shelly Fuller|Water|Operations
© Reuse this
The 2011 wine grape harvesting and growing seasons were subjected to harsh climate fluctuations, such as drought and heat, reports viticulture, oenology, soil science, agroeconomy and general management consultation services organisation VinPro.
The organisation notes that a larger crop was initially expected, but cold and windy conditions during the flowering season contributed to a systematic reduction in the crop.
Nevertheless, nonprofit industry body South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (Sawis) in August indicated that the 2011 wine grape crop had grown by 3.1% year-on-year to about 1.3-million tons, compared with about 1.23-million tons in 2010.
The 2010 crop harvest declined by 8.6% on 2009’s crop, which was estimated to be just over 1.3-million tons.
With the exception of the Orange River, Breedekloof and Worcester districts, all cultivation districts had bigger crops this year.
Further, cold and inclement weather conditions resulted in an uneven and weak set of cultivars and grapevines that are prone to later bud burst; this impacted considerably on the crop size, reports VinPro.
Hardly any rain was recorded from mid-November 2010 and the unrelenting heat from January onwards made it tricky for producers to implement suitable irrigation.
Further, during the ripening period, dryland vines suffered as a result of a lack of supplementary rain, while persistent thunderstorms and high humidity led to problematic rot control challenges in certain regions.
In addition, VinPro reports that, during the warm, dry ripening period, several cultivars ripened simultaneously, thereby placing severe pressure on cellar capacity at times.
Orange River Crop Decline
The decline is a result of extensive flooding and rot. Initial estimates indi- cated that the 2011 crop would be smaller than 2010’s because all wine cultivars, including Sultana and Merbein, had smaller crops.
Following the floods, a survey under- taken by wine producer Orange River Wine Cellars, indicated that 366 ha of wine grapes was destroyed, while a further 640 ha of wine grapes suffered indirect flood damage.
She says seasonal fluctuations have become more prominent in recent years, and wine farmers have had to adapt their production operations to remain profit- able and produce high-quality wine.
“The seasonal fluctuations affect every aspect of their production, from increased pest and disease problems to early or late flowering and budding. Harvest periods, as well as the quality and quantity of wine, are impacted,” she adds.
Fuller highlights that wine farmers are looking at ways to adapt their busi- nesses to keep up with changing weather conditions. “Depending on the growing regions, some farmers are changing their grape varieties to more drought-resistant and heat-tolerant cultivars,” she says.
In addition, others have bought farms in coolers regions, such as the Grabouw valley, in the Western Cape, to grow their white wine varieties there. Vineyards are also moving farther up mountain slopes to reach cooler microclimates.
The major issues for the farmers are the longer, warmer summers and drier winters, which result in less water for irrigation in summer.
Further, she notes that the problem of fluctuating weather patterns and climate change will not be resolved any time soon.
Confronting Climate Change’s three-year carbon footprint research project, which started in 2008, aims at enabling South African growers and service pro- viders to determine their carbon footprint and identify carbon hotspots with the objective of finding creative measures to reduce carbon emissions.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Brewery and Winery News
Hotel group Tsogo Sun spent just under R3.2-million at two wine auctions this year, namely the Nederburg and Cape Winemakers Guild auctions, highlighting its commitment to offering guests at its hotels an exceptional quality food and beverage experience. The group...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.
Next ArticleGreen Wine Awards winners announced