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Harvest Report 2010

Harvest Report 2010


What an intense year! It was extremely difficult to make predictions due to the constant fluctuations in weather conditions, with unrelenting winds prevailing almost throughout. Initially matters were quite advanced, with early bud burst, then cold weather in October and November delayed everything, and subsequently favourable conditions and the small size of the crop tended to move D-day forward again. Production cost was high from the start and expenses per ton skyrocketed because of the decline in yield. 

Crop size The 2010 wine grape harvest is estimated at 1 231 405 tons (30 April 2010), which represents a decrease of 8.6% or 116 216 tons compared to the 2009 crop. All regions except Orange River had a decrease in year-on-year production trends. 

The 2010 wine grape harvest, which includes juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and distilling wine, is expected to amount to 939.6 million litres at an average recovery of 763 litres per ton of grapes. 

2009 growing season Cool, overcast and rainy weather conditions during the induction period in October/November 2008 had an adverse effect on bunch initiation for the 2010 harvest and impacted on this year's crop. 

Although sufficient winter cold prevailed, the cool, wet spring caused uneven budding in many regions. The season was characterised by unrelenting strong winds. The summer months were exceptionally dry and windy. Sunburn, wind and heat damage combined with a deficiency in irrigation water in some regions and downy mildew resulted in crop losses. 

The harvest The overall cool climate during the first part of ripening was beneficial to flavour retention in cultivars such as Sauvignon blanc. February and March experienced the usual sporadic heat waves. The heat wave at the beginning of March 2010 which lasted longer than a week will certainly go downin the annals. 

Due to the smaller crop most blocks could be picked at optimal ripeness. The decrease in volumes also meant that cellar space was often not a problem, and winemakers could allow prolonged skin contact. 

The wines Winemakers and viticulturists are more than satisfied with the quality of the grapes that were harvested. Grapes were healthy with good flavours and analyses. Bunches were generally looser than normal and berries smaller, with an excellent fruit to skin ratio resulting in intense colour in the red wines.