Wine grape supply balances with demand in 2024 harvest season

20th May 2024 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Wine grape supply balances with demand in 2024 harvest season

Photo by: Bloomberg

The 2024 wine grape harvest has yielded 1.09-million tonnes from 87 848 ha, which is 7% lower than the prior harvest season, industry body Vinpro reports.

Vinpro consultation services manager Dr Etienne Terblanche says the 2024 harvest season was a journey marked by careful planning and the adaptability of wine producers in the face of diverse climatic adversities and various disruptions.

He adds that, despite diverse and demanding climatic events, the industry was able to transform the 2024 harvest into one of the most remarkable in recent history.

The 2024 yield, combined with strong market demand, has led to the industry’s wine stock levels reaching equilibrium – which is an achievement compared with other markets that are still grappling with a wine surplus and have to resort to drastic measures such as uprooting vineyards.

The 2024 wine harvest, including juice, concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and wine for distilling, is estimated to amount to 857.1-million litres, at a recovery of 780 ℓ/t of grapes.

Early cultivars yielded significantly lighter crop sizes than expected across most regions. The later red cultivars generally produced improved yields.

Winemakers are excited about the wine quality overall, especially full-bodied red wines with exceptional colour and tannin extraction levels.

On the white cultivar spectrum, oenophiles can look forward to fresh wines with ample texture and mouthfeel.

“The 2023/24 season may have presented its share of obstacles, but it has also showcased the resilience and determination of the South African wine industry,” says industry body South Africa Wine CEO Rico Basson.

“This industry stands resilient, with our wine stock now in equilibrium. Despite fluctuations in harvest yields and vineyard surface areas, we are primed and prepared to supply the world with exceptional quality and distinctive wines.”

South Africa is the world's seventh-largest wine producer, producing about 4% of the world’s wine. The wine industry contributes more than R56.5-billion to the country’s GDP and employs 270 364 people across the value chain, of which 85 962 work on farms and cellars.

“The outstanding quality of the wines from the 2024 harvest underscores South Africa's unwavering commitment to spotlighting its world-class offerings,” says industry body Wines of South Africa CEO Siobhan Thompson.

“This achievement not only strengthens our foothold in the global market but also enhances our continuous efforts to seize a larger value share of export markets,” she adds.

Basson explains that the South African wine industry is undergoing a strategic repositioning, shifting its focus to value growth.

“Through reinvestment for growth and collaborative strategies, we are forging a path to strengthen our industry and propel us towards a future of quality, innovation and sustainability.”