Will South Africa’s Subpar Wine Harvest Hurt Tourism?

by Holly Riddle

Jun 23, 2019

Vineyards, Stellenbosch, South Africa


South Africa expects this year’s wine grape harvest to be the smallest in the last 14 years. The country experienced fluctuating weather and drier than normal conditions, leading to the less than optimal harvest predictions.

Vinpro announced the prediction last month. Vinpro represents more than 2,000 South African wine grape producers, wineries and wine-related businesses.

The year’s output is expected to measure the lowest since 2005. However, despite this, experts say the 2019 wine quality remains high, as the smaller grapes purportedly boast a greater concentration of flavors.

Unfortunately, the low yield still spells out thinner profit margins for producers and the South African economy, as the wine industry contributes nearly $2.5 billion to the gross domestic product, particularly where tourism is concerned, as they flock from around the world to the wine lands in the Western Cape.

“The main reasons for the smaller crop in 2019 are the poor set of wine grape bunches that are being observed throughout the Western Cape due to wet, cold conditions and wind experienced in October last year,” said Francois Viljoen, consultation services manager, Vinpro, in a release from the organization. “The 2017/18 season forever changed our frame of reference about our water resources and way of thinking about water in general and we had to come up with new ways to accumulate and save water and use this scarce resource more efficiently — in some cases vineyards had to be managed with 50 percent less water than usual and in some extreme cases with only 16 percent of the normal water allocation.”


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