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South Africa 2015 harvest report: It was early, but expect high quality

Published:  07 May, 2015

South Africa's official harvest report said that the 2015 harvest will be recorded "as one of the driest and earliest in years, with a somewhat smaller wine grape harvest promising exceptional wines."

The total harvest volumes are expected to be down 1-2% compared to 2014. Total crops size is expected to reach 1.502m tonnes.

VinPro, an organisation that represent 3,500 wine grape producers and cellars in South Africa in collaboration with Wines of South Africa released the harvest report today.

According to VinPro the 2015 harvest began more than two weeks earlier compared to normal years. Luckily the harvest came early as devastating fires rage near Cape Town just as most wineries in the wine producing regions had finished bringing in the grapes, thus lowering the risk of smoke taint.

Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro's Consultation Service said: "The 2015 harvest had the earliest start in decades. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks."

According to Viljoen some winemakers are expecting this harvest to be a "career highlight".  Due to more moderate temperatures during the harvest, smaller berries with more concentrated and intense flavours were able to develop.

VinPro rated each region's harvest as follows:

Breedekloof: One of the best harvests ever in terms of quality, with a relatively large crop as bonus.

Klein Karoo:  An unusually early, healthy season brings a high quality, but smaller harvest.

Malmesbury/Swartland: This dry land region's crop decreased, but smaller berries promise remarkable quality.

Olifants River: Exceptional grape analyses and colour due to a more moderate summer; the same crop size as in 2014.

Orange River: A good harvest of the same size as in 2014, despite limited frost damage and heat waves.

Paarl: After kicking off very early, a smaller harvest of very high quality was taken in.

Robertson: A bigger harvest than in 2014, with exceptional quality wines.

Stellenbosch: Although somewhat smaller, this was one of the best, if not the best, harvests in years.

Worcester: The largest harvest in the region's history, producing very good wines.