30 November 2023

South Africa Grape Update

The 2023 South African Grape commenced approximately four weeks ago. While it’s still early in the season, all indications point toward a year of large volume and high quality. The crop estimate lies around 73 million, a mark we may exceed, barring any significant weather events or unforeseen challenges.

Northern Province

The Northern Province has hit the ground running and is already more than 20% into their new crop. This region found local pricing to be better than anticipated in weeks 44 and 45, enabling the region to concentrate on meeting the demands of the local market.

As of week 46, their focus has shifted towards export packing. Local packing in week 44 and 45 resulted in somewhat diminished export figures. Fortunately, Grape conditions have been good, with minimal berry shatter and good berry size. In week 47, the Northern Province will conclude Prime, Early Sweet and Starlight Grapes, while new red varieties such as Arra33, Tawny and Flame are set to arrive at the pack house during weeks 47 and 48.

Orange River

In the Orange River region, the season has commenced at a slower pace. Week 46 saw the inspection of only 166,000 cartons, primarily comprising Early Sweet and Prime varieties. This figure reflects a 20% decrease compared to the same week last season, brought on by a larger crop and subsequently slower ripening. The increased crop size will also impact berry sizing, with emphasis on large and XL rather than the other way around.

With that said, anticipations are high for week 48, poised to be the inaugural significant week, with projections of over one million cartons inspected in this area. Grape conditions are reported to be very good, and growers are very positive about the season going forward. Despite an overall favorable weather forecast, the persistent high temperatures pose challenges for the Grapes, rendering irrigation notably difficult due to load shedding.

Looking ahead, the Orange River region will predominantly offer Early Sweet and Prime Grapes in subsequent weeks. Beyond weeks 47 and 48, there is a forecasted surge in volume, with an expected packing of around 2 to 3 million cartons per week.