News: Wine Industry loses R700 million due to drought

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Wine Industry loses R700 million due to drought

The ongoing drought in the Western Cape has been affecting the wine industry negatively, with farmers now being told to reduce their water consumption.

VinPro and Wine Cellars manager Christo Conradie said the water quota has been cut between 50 - 80% which is very concerning because they are entering the harvesting season in the next 12 weeks.

“If you look at the monetary side, I think we have about R700 million loss and that is extreme loss spread over 10 regions,” Conradie said. It is unfortunate as no insurance has been offered against drought and farmers have to make the best of the situation.

Over the next three months, different cultivars of grapes will be harvested as the worst drought in a century drags on in the Western Cape. VinPro, however, believes there is no reason to throw in the towel yet as South African producers are known for their resilience and ability to adapt.

It is estimated that this year’s crop could be the lowest since 2005, which perhaps comes to know surprise. This will result in lower volumes and less wine at higher prices.

Beverly Farmer, Founder and CEO of Women in Wine, says the size of the grapes has reduced drastically with this resulting in less juice in the berries.

Winemaker Anri Truter says it is a difficult balancing act. Plants are watered only when it shows stress through drip techniques. Truter also believes that a lower crop could still produce an outstanding wine.

However, the only thing that will ultimately restore balance in the industry is rain.