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South African grape outlook

There is optimism around the new season of South African grapes. The first crop estimates for 2021-22 were just released with expected volumes between 70.6 and 77.7 million 4.2kg cartons. This is the third consecutive season we will see growth in the grape industry even with a table grape hectare decrease of 1,234 hectares since 2019.   

Expected volumes for South African grapes are between 70.6 and 77.7 million 4.2kg cartons.

There was an excellent winter with much needed rain across the region including the rural areas of the Northern Cape that previously were drought stricken for nine years.  

The Orange river still had rain up to two weeks ago, which will be good for size on earlier varieties like Early Sweet, Starlite and Prime seedless. The long-term prediction is that rain in this area could be much later than normal which is pushing the crop back between seven to 10 days. That means the Orange River will start with large volumes late November/early December. 

Growers are cautiously optimistic about the coming season and paying close attention to the shipping woes and container shortages. This is a very busy time for the ports and logistics as a whole as South African plums, apricots, peaches, blueberries and cherries will all peak during December in the Western Cape, and they are all highly perishable. 

Provincial breakdown 

  • Northern Province – Groblersdal, Marble hall: Volume will start around week 46 supplying for the first weeks until the Orange River region starts up. The Northern Province crop estimate is still on the rise after a few years of heavy rains in the middle of the season. Size, quality and condition of fruit looks positive. 
  • Orange river: The Orange River region is trending a week later than normal. The earliest farms will commence at the end of week 47. The bulk of volume starts from week 49. Volume is still growing from this region with an estimate of approximately 20.5 million cartons for the season. We expect to see more grapes than last year with the same quality and large sized grapes. 
  • Olifants River: This area had a very good season last year for the first time in four years since the drought started. The industry finished last season by packing 4.44 million cartons, exceeding grower expectations. This season’s estimates for 2021-22 are 4.3 – 4.5 million cartons. All signs point to another strong season commencing in week 50/51 with Tawny and Flame varieties.  
  • Berg River and Hex River: Crop estimates for these areas are on the conservative side after a very big crop last year. We will most likely see a correction in the figures in the second or third estimate going forward.  Start-up dates could be a week later than last year but the expectation around quality and volume is very good. 

For more information:
Andrea Bava
Vanguard International
Tel: +1 (778) 908-1764 

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