South Africa Has a Historically Small Harvest

South Africa experienced a cool harvest season that resulted in low volumes for the 2023 vintage.

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Weather conditions and external factors have resulted in a small harvest (Photo: jon11/
Weather conditions and external factors have resulted in a small harvest (Photo: jon11/

According to industry organization SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Information and Systems), the harvest volume was estimated at 1.18m. tons. This represents a 14.2% decline from the 2022 harvest, and the South African Harvest Report ranks 2023 as one of the smallest vintages in more than a decade.

The total 2023 harvest, including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for distilled spirits and distillation, is expected to be 917 million litres, based on a yield of 777 litres per ton of grapes. Despite regional differences, harvest volumes have declined in all 11 growing regions, according to SAWIS.

According to the report, the inability of Eskom, the national power utility, to generate enough electricity to meet the country's needs has led to so-called loadshedding. This involves shutting down the power supply for certain hours according to a set schedule. This would have had a significant impact on the harvest season and the crop size by negatively affecting irrigation scheduling and water availability.

South Africa is the ninth largest wine producer in the world, producing about 4% of the world's wine. According to Wines of South Africa, the wine industry contributes about €2.7bn to the country's gross domestic product and employs about 270,000 people along the value chain, with about 80,000 of them working in vineyards and cellars. The detailed harvest report can be viewed on the Wines of South Africa website. PD


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