South Africa's 2024 Harvest Is a Small One

It's a smaller harvest, but South Africa is in balance.

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A smaller harvest could balance the oversupply. (Photo: WOSA, Pierre van der Spuy)
A smaller harvest could balance the oversupply. (Photo: WOSA, Pierre van der Spuy)

South Africa's 2024 grape harvest witnessed a 7% decline compared to the already small harvest of the previous year, according to estimates by industry body SAWIS. The total harvest amounted to approximately 1.1m tonnes of grapes from 88,000 ha/217,000 ac, expected to yield around 857m liters of juice, non-alcoholic concentrates, wine, and brandy. This represents the smallest harvest in the past two decades. While the reduced harvest translates to increased cost pressures for wine producers, it could potentially aid in balancing the current wine surplus.

“The South African wine industry is undergoing a strategic repositioning and shifting its focus to value-driven growth. By reinvesting in growth and cooperative strategies, we are charting a course that will strengthen our industry and lead us into a future of quality, innovation, and sustainability," says South Africa Wine CEO Rico Basson.

Challenging weather patterns

Frost, floods, and unusual rainfall have resulted in crop losses, varying in severity depending on the region. Winemakers in Olifants River and Paarl particularly recall the floods, while in Stellenbosch, the focus of the year's events was on the drought following heavy spring rains. Overall, early white grape varieties have been more affected by losses than late red varieties. A slightly larger harvest is expected in Klein Karoo, contrary to the trend, while near-normal yields are predicted in Swartland.



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South Africa is the seventh-largest wine producer in the world, accounting for approximately 4% of global wine production. Last year, the vineyard area decreased significantly by around 2%, with particularly noticeable declines in the already relatively small Northern Cape, where 519 ha/1,300 ac were grubbed. Among the major wine-growing regions, Stellenbosch was notably affected, with a decrease in vineyard area by 353 ha/870 ac (-2.9%). Additionally, Robertson (-327 ha/808 ac, -2.5%), Olifants River (-162 ha/400 ac  -1.9%), Swartland (-226 ha/558 ac -1.9%), and Paarl (-230 ha/568 ac -2.6%) also experienced a decline in wine cultivation. Only in Cape South Coast, 10 ha/25 ac of vineyards were planted more than cleared. PD / CG



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