We are currently in the middle of the late Red Seedless window with around 50% of Crimson Seedless harvested. The Scarlotta volumes will increase as we go into Week 2.
With the near absence of the usual summer rains, we are seeing exceptional healthy Red Seedless grapes. Day temperatures moved into the high 30ºC+ during the past 2 weeks which boosted sugar accumulation.
This has brought with a correlating increase in volumes harvested for Week 51 and 52 on the Crimson Seedless. The cooler nights in December resulted in excellent coloring weather and we expect that the majority of the Red Seedless product will have an exceptional berry size.
We’ve had an above average volume year in the area combined with excellent quality due to high acidity levels (favourable for shelf –life). Current indications show that we will close the 2017/2018 season with Scarlotta early in Week 4.
ORANGE RIVER REGION
Having completed harvest of the first White Seedless varieties and Thompson Seedless coming into production, we are over the peak of the Orange River volumes.
New varieties like Autumn Crisp will come into production around Week 2 and 3. Red Seedless and Black Seedless volumes will decrease from Week 1 and also come to an end towards by the end of Week 2.
New late Black Seedless varieties will be harvested around Week 3 and 4. Weather conditions have been extremely favourable up to know and no heavy rains were received.
We will see a decrease in weekly volumes from next week onwards.
The overall estimate on production seems to be down by around 15%-20% on all varieties compared to the original pre-season estimates. This will have a direct effect on the volumes reaching the market as product was and still is limited. Keep also in mind the impact of an earlier finish on the White Seedless.
BERG RIVER REGION
The early areas harvested their first product and will finish with the first varieties by end of Week 1. The later areas will start with production in Week 2 and we will see increased volumes as the area moves into the Black Seedless varieties.
The area is known for this mid-season Black Seedless window.At this stage, we are not expecting above average production and will need to evaluate the volumes over the next 3 weeks. We experienced strong growth in the Western Cape Regions and believe that this will be visible on the quality of the product.
The heatwave that we experienced in November resulted in lower production estimates because of bunches that were removed from the vines after damage. This will affect only the volumes of the Red Globe and Sugrathirteen in the Berg River area, but not the quality.
Water availability wasn’t a challenge up to now although all efforts are still made to use water as responsibly. Currently there is no forecast of any rain in the area for the coming weeks.
HEX RIVER REGION
The early production units will start with harvest mid next week, but with limited volumes.
With good growth in the region, the late Red Seedless varieties and also the new varieties are looking exceptional! A full update on volumes will follow Week 2.
Water management stays a challenge however.
SOUTH AFRICAN FUN FACTS:
South Africa is home to eight World Heritage Sites:
1. The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
2. Robben Island
3. The Cape Floristic Region
4. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
5. Vredefort Dome (the oldest meteor scar in the world)
6. The Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs fossil hominid sites.
7. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park
8. The Ukhahlamba / Drakensberg Park