Biggest ever crop for SA

South Africa is looking at its biggest ever harvest this year despite a late and slow start to the growing season.

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, where South Africa's finest Pinot Noirs are made

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

According to the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS), the 2013 grape crop is expected to hit 1,491,432 tons, exceeding the 2012 crop by 5.4% and larger than the last biggest harvest, 2008, by over 4%.

The overall harvest therefore –including juice, concentrate and wines for brandy and distilling – will reach over 1m litres, with an average 773 litres per ton of grapes.

In terms of quality, producers “are excited about a promising crop”, with good colour, structure and flavour particularly in the reds.

The results are encouraging given that the growing season was late and two weeks shorter than normal this year.

Winter continued into September and was followed by a cool spring which delayed bud break.

However, budding was even and the wet weather allowed the plants to accumulate enough water to sustain them through the hot summer that followed.

Weather over the harvesting was “ideal” and nine of the 10 wine growing districts are expecting larger than usual crops (except Robertson) and Breedekloof and Paarl appear to be the standout regions.

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