Cape Town faces its worst drought with experts predicting the city’s taps will run dry by
end of April. Leaders in the wine industry have also warned that the drought will have a
major effect on the 2018 harvest with crops expected to plummet by 50%.
Officials from the Berg River Irrigation Board visited farms on the Agter-Paarl Road today to investigate the water consumption of farmers. The Board's officials announced that the sluices of the Berg River Dam will be closing on 23 January 2018. This dam serves a number of farmers downstream.
South Africa exports more than 420-million litres of wine annually, but that number will
be much smaller this year.
Roland Peens, a director at Wine Cellar, said the Wholesale wine industry would be affected
the most because of the 90% it made up in the industry. Peens also added that the premium
wine sector, which characterised as a very small part of the industry, has been doing very well
at the moment as the wine was in high demand globally.
According to VinPro managing director Rico Basson, South Africa is not the only wine producing
country expecting a decline in harvest, as the yields of France, Italy, Spain and California were
also facing the pressure from natural phenomena.
Basson also noted that a greater demand is set to lead to a shortage in wine in specific categories worldwide. “Although wine shelves won’t suddenly be empty, the relative wine shortage creates an excellent opportunity for the industry to compete at higher price points,” he said.
It is predicted that the drought will lead to immense job losses in the agriculture sector. Alan Winde,
Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture, earlier said that they
projected about 45 000 job losses in the sector.