Nov 11, 2011
Larger wine grape harvest despite climate challengesBack
Breedekloof|Worcester|Africa|Orange River Wine Cellars|PROJECT|Systems|Water|Africa|South Africa|Systems|Wine Producer|Shelly Fuller|Water
© 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
Recent Research Reports
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...
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.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The multibillion-rand development of the Zendai Modderfontein New City, east of Johannesburg, will aim to exemplify an integrated city node, says property group Zendai South Africa COO Wenhui Du. The development will focus on the Modderfontein Gautrain station to be...
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hopes to have finalised regulations for the flying of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) – also designated Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) and popularly called drones – in the country’s civilian airspace by the end...
Various stakeholders have expressed optimism that the Small Business Development Ministry, created after the national elections in May, will add much needed impetus to enterprise development in South Africa, where a strengthening of the entrepreneurial culture is...
Capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) is the only way through which the world will achieve the lowest of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) global warming predictions, called the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 2.6....
The City of Johannesburg has recovered R107-million following the arrest of 22 people allegedly involved in corruption, collusion, fraud and tampering with the city’s electricity systems, which had ultimately cost the city R200-million in lost revenue.