South Africa’s first production area is off to a good start with an early bud break on the first varieties. We anticipate to start of harvest season around week 43, beginning with Early Sweet. The area is experiencing exceptional flowering weather, with moderate day and night temperatures that will ensure a nice even crop. Volumes seem to be a bit lower compared to 2016/17 season on the early varieties. This could be attributed to a minor cold spell incurred during the early development stage. Availability of water in the area is sufficient and we expect a bigger berry size on most varieties if the favorable weather continues.
The Onseepkans region shows good promise on both early WSL and BSL varieties. The plastic covered PSE looks fantastic and the experiments done on this looks to be paying off. We’re expecting a cosmetically clean product from these vineyards. As part of our growerinnovation side, we are excited about what is being achieved here as it aligns with our goal to produce only the best products. The Orange River’s initial assessment looks promising with bud break around the same time as last year. The shoot growth on the early varieties looks exceptional which indicates that the vines are healthy. If weather permits we expect to see good flowering also. A good crop is expected on both SGO and THS with lots of clusters present at an early stage. Current weather conditions are very favorable with moderate day and night temperatures. Water will not be a problem in this region, but growers are doing their best to help conserve water in this time of drought.
WESTERN CAPE | BERG RIVER
With a good even bud break around the same time as the previous year, the biggest concern for this area is water. Early varieties like Flame, Sable, and Midnight won’t be affected as much as the later varieties and growers are doing what they can to conserve water and ensure a good quality product.Early varieties had very even bud break with shoot lengths around 20cm. With weather in the Western Cape still a bit cool, the vines looks to be absorbing the cooler weather well and still produce a good uniform growth on the shoots thatshould lead to a good flowering period. We are excited about the early BSL out of this region, and SGS and SGT blocks are being monitored closely to ensure a good production of high quality grapes.
WESTERN CAPE | HEX RIVER
The first signs of bud break are starting to show on the SGS, SGT and Tawny. With cooler temperatures forecasted for week 36 and 37, there could be a delay in bud break and only time will tell how the vines will react. Apart from the concern regarding the imposed water restrictions, the start of the 2017/18 season looks to be on its way in all the regions. Growers have done a lot of work to implement water preserving practices like mulching to ensure that water applied are preserved for the vines alone. If dry conditions persist we can expect a lower crop out of the Hexrivier especially on the later varieties like Crimson and Autumn Royal. We will have a better overview of the situation from week 38 when most of the vines have gone through bud break.