The industry reported the total harvest amounted to 1,45 million tons, approximately 2,6% smaller than the record harvest in 2013. However, some wine farmers experienced increased crop levels and good quality yields.
This was due to a drive from producers to increase production and enhance profitability, according to VinPro, the representative organisation for close to 3 600 South African wine producers and cellars.
Vinpro said in a media statement that the 2013/2014 wine grape season was challenging and characterised by high, and in some instances untimely rainfall.
“The harvest commenced one to two weeks later than normal, due to late, cold winter conditions and a cooler spring. High rainfall mid-November and in January led to producers having to irrigate much less, but applying stricter disease control measures at higher input costs, to limit losses,” according to Vinpro.
While some areas like Malmesbury, Paarl and Stellenbosch achieved very high yields combined with excellent quality grapes, other areas suffered crop losses due to adverse weather conditions.
The Orange River experienced the greatest frost damage in years, which had a substantial effect on the harvest.
According to Vinpro, producers, viticulturists and winemakers said they expected the 2014 harvest to deliver good, and in some cases exceptional quality wines.
“Moderate climate conditions during the harvest season contributed to intense colour, exceptional flavour and good structure in the red cultivars. White wines are expected to be particularly fruity and tropical, with fresh characteristics,” said Vinpro.