Andre Vermaak - Silverlands Vineyards

"Big demand in South Africa for Cotton Candy and the Candy Hearts"

The Namibian grape season has gotten off to a good start, this is good news for the growers who had an early end to last season. Temperatures at the moment are in the 40s, but the weather has been perfect for grapes, with daytime temperatures in the high 30s and cooling down at night which is great for colouring.

"It has been a slow start this year but we were expecting that as we pruned back later too," explains Andre Vermaak of Silverlands Vineyards. "We are right in the middle of harvest now with another three or four weeks to go. Everything is looking very good. Climatic conditions have been perfect for growing, but let's not get ahead of ourselves as anything can still happen."

Despite the later start date, Andre expects a very good season. The grape market is under supplied and the early regions in South Africa are also running late. Peru and Brazil have issues and the European season stopped early.

Namibian grapes are still mostly shipped to the European and UK markets, but increasing volumes are going to Malaysia and Vietnam.

'Early sweet and Flame are all harvested and we are now on the ARRA range. ARRA 14 is a black grape and the ARRA 15, which is similar to Thompson. These are looking extremely good," according to Andre. "Next week we will begin on the IFG varieties, such as Cotton Candy, Candy Hearts and Sweet Secrets."

"We have planted quite a lot of these varieties in the last two years," said Andre. "The Sweet Globe, Sugar Crisp and Jack Salute and all the Candys. These are mid to late varieties which means we are too late for the Christmas market in Europe, but there is big demand on the South African market especially for the Cotton Candys and the Candy Hearts, there is none of these variety around at the moment so there is a big demand."

Andre says that the South African market will also pay a good price for these grapes and it is only a day's transport to get them there. They can be on the shelves the day after picking so for the producer it makes much more sense, also in two weeks the producer has been fully paid for his produce.

Although further investment was held back last year, Silverlands Vineyards will now go ahead with their three year plan to plant 150 hectares starting in January 2018.

For more information:
Andre Vermaak
Silverlands Vineyards
Tel: +264 63 297359

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