Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro’s consultation service said in a statement that at the end of March the total 2013 harvest was expected to reach close to 1,4 million tons, only 8 500t more than in 2012. In its first harvest report for the 2013 season the wine industry predicted the crop would be marginally smaller than in the previous year, however better than expected growing conditions in many regions resulted in a larger than expected crop.
“The harvest started at least seven days later than last year in most districts and in some cases even 14 days late. However, as the season progressed, the later cultivars started ripening on time, putting great pressure on cellars by the end of March – especially with regard to fermentation space,” explained Viljoen. Hot weather respectively during middle January, and at the beginning of March sped up ripening, while rain in February at the same time relieved stress in dryland vineyards in Darling and Malmesbury and led to rot and somewhat lower productions in Stellenbosch.
The Orange River district expected a larger harvest than in 2012 when rot was a challenge. Olifants River, Paarl and Malmesbury were also looking forward to larger harvests, while Klein Karoo and Stellenbosch expected a slight decrease. The Robertson, Worcester and Breedekloof areas had large harvests in 2012 and initially expected much smaller harvests, but as the season progressed both Worcester and Robertson became more hopeful and amended their estimates upwards, said Viljoen.
In terms of wine quality for the 2013 vintage Viljoen said that winemakers were looking forward to a promising year, especially with regard to early white cultivars. “The colour on red cultivars is exceptional, as well as the analyses with regard to sugar, acidity and pH. Pinotage is in its element this year, with good yields expected throughout the winelands,” he said.