The region experienced exceptional weather this past few weeks leading up to harvest, with warmer days and moderate temperatures at night. The vine growth is looking great and well balanced which will help to produce healthy and uniform fruit.
Early White Seedless will kick off in Week 44 as Early Sweet is accumulating sugar at a good pace because of the favourable climate. We can expect a good crop in general with a good, even berry size. Prime Seedless is expected in good volumes as early as week 46.
Bunch preparations have been done in a manner which targets to ensure an overall bigger berry size, and ultimately deliver bigger volumes in weeks 45 to 48 compared to the previous season. On the Early Red varieties, Starlight can be expected to be ready for harvest in week 45. With well balanced growth on the vines and good average crop load, we expect the Starlight to be of high quality.
Smaller Flame Seedless volumes are expected out of this region due to most growers replacing Flame Seedless with Starlight. Starlight is preferred as it delivers a much stronger fruit with good colour in under the northern climate. Sable Seedless will deliver a higher yield than previous years due to a much better growing spell.
The addition of 10 hectares of Sable Seedless will also stretch the Sable window from week 47 through to week 52 out of this region. Midnight Beauty is consistent in bunch count as always, and we can look forward to yet another good production year with high quality fruit.
ORANGE RIVER REGION
The region experienced an excellent winter accumulating sufficient cold. Towards the end of the winter sporadic frost damage in certain regions and excessive thinning on certain varieties might have an impact on overall volumes.
Conditions however changed to favorable flowering weather. The vines are showing excellent growth with current weather being much warmer. Volumes appear to be consistent over the region and we expect a normal harvest (19m – 20m 4,5kg eqv. cartons).Harvest of Prime, the first White Seedless, will commence in limited volumes from week 46 to week 47.
The Red Seedless grapes may be a week late if compared to the previous season due to the late cold temperatures. Harvesting of Starlight and Flame will be around week 47 to week 48. Black Seedless harvesting will be of similar time as the previous year. With temperatures picking up fast we should have a more detailed report for this region in week 44.
WESTERN CAPE (BERG RIVER REGION | HEX RIVER REGION)
After a cold wet winter in the Western Cape the growers can breathe a sigh of relief as the 2019 season is off to a great start. The cold winter ensured that the vines went in to a deep dormant sleep for the first time in a few years, and one can already see that the quality of shoots to carry the bunches into the new season look strong.
After a late spring cold spell the warm spring weather now has the vines out of the blocks and growing fast and uniform. Bunch counts on the early varietals looks to be higher than that of the previous season and with the drought not as severe as the previous two years, growers have more water to nurture the vines through their upcoming phonological stages. In these stages that include flowering and berry set the availability of water to the plant is critical.
Varieties like Sable Seedless and Sweet Globe are showing good bunch shoulders that can be an indication of good bunch weight and crop load. Midnight Beauty out of the Berg River region is looking great with a high crop potential. At this time, the harvest will commence more or less two days later than the 2018 season.
The Berg River region shows promising bunch volumes and exceptional uniform growth. We are experiencing favorable weather conditions with temperatures also rising fast in the Western Cape. We will evaluate the crop estimates of week 44 to give a more accurate indication of our expectations for the 2018 – 2019 season.
FUN FACTS OF SOUTH AFRICA
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