South Africa’s wine producers are looking forward to bumper harvests this year after a great winter. The welcome news comes after weeks of industrial action by the farm worker unions in Western Cape.

Su Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa commented, “At this stage, all indications are that this year’s local crop could be the third biggest in recorded history. This is assuming that good weather conditions continue there is a speedy and peaceful resolution to the farm worker strikes and harvests come in on time. The anticipated crop size is despite a decrease in total plantings, thanks to one of the best winter seasons in the Western Cape for many years.”

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SA Wine Industry & Information Systems has anticipated that the 2013 wine grape crop should amount to 1 384 357. Exports are also up to a record 417 million litres, which is 10 million litres more then the previous record in 2008, another bumper harvest year.

Favourable exchange rates, a global wine shortage and small harvests in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand were the main factors behind the growth. The increase in exports has also been linked to rising demand for South African wine in North America, Japan, China and the evermore affluent African nations.

Fresh waves of the continuing strikes in the Western Cape on Monday, after a weekend hiatus, highlight how this news has come at a fragile moment for the industry, and may heap on pressure for framers to give in to workers’ demands.

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