South Africa's table grape producers in the Orange River region have finished picking, as have growers in the northern provinces. In the Western Cape growers have finished picking their white varieties and are focusing on their red and black varieties.
According to the South African Table Grape Industry, more than 50 million 4.5kg equivalent cartons had been packed up to week 6 and 46.3 million cartons had been exported up to week 7, about half to the European Union, followed by the United Kingdom. At this point, exports are up from last year. See the full figures in the tables below.
Abie Loubser, marketing director of table grape producer AS Viljoen Boerdery in the Hex River Valley, says that they’re seeing an average harvest due to a dry previous winter. Of their 600 to 700 ha under table grapes, they’re currently picking Crimson Seedless, Autumn Royal, Melody™ and Allison™. “The harvest initially looked a bit better but the grapes are rather light,” he says. “We haven’t yet started picking our seeded varieties Dauphine and Barlinka. Seeded varieties make up less than 10% of our plantings.” Their red and black varieties have had good climatic conditions – temperature differences between day and night – to develop nice colour.
The company produces primarily for exports, but according to Loubser, they haven’t noticed pressure on prices for South African grapes on the European market due to the large volumes of Indian grapes (primarily white Thompson seedless) on the same market. “Fortunately there is no overlap between the times our white seedless go to the market.”
At Denau, Red Globe has been picked while Crimson Seedless is 50% finished. The latter is their main variety, and Fanie Naudé, managing director of Denau outside De Doorns in the Hex River Valley, also reports good colouring on the grapes. They’re satisfied with their volumes, which are mostly for export to the UK and the EU.
Given the preference for seedless grapes, the company is growing the South African white seeded variety of Dauphine for the last time – indeed, the grape has been described as “an endangered species” in South African vineyards.