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2005 South African vintage 12% down on last year

Published:  23 July, 2008

The 2005 vintage in South Africa is almost 12% down on 2004, according to Wines of South Africa (WOSA).

Initially it looked like the crop would be slightly bigger than last year, but in due course it became clear that drought would exact its toll. The crop is 11.8% smaller than in 2004,' stated the generic body in a report released this week.

Overall, WOSA said that 2005 was an exceptional year for quality', despite both severe drought and heavy rainfall'. The report added: Although 2005 appears to be a better vintage for red wine, with lovely colour in most cultivars, there are some good-quality whites.'

In terms of varieties, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are expected to be in shortage due to a general shortage of white wines', with most reds in the opposite situation.

Regionally, results differed to a large extent, with some regions such as Orange River and Robertson producing 15% less than in 2004, and others, such as Paarl and Stellenbosch, expected to produce the same amount, or even slightly more, than in 2004. The harvest was generally early, with some regions as much as four weeks ahead.

WOSA's Romi Boom summed the season up as: The 2004/2005 growing season presented the wine grower with enormous challenges. On the whole, budding occurred earlier than in 2003 as a result of the warm spring. Thunder and showers in October resulted in vigorous growth. Due to this vigour, bunch set was looser and smaller than usual.

There was less damage from sunburn, because despite the drought there were fewer heatwaves. Higher humidity in November and December, together with less wind, caused botrytis rot, resulting in crop losses. Vines were relatively disease-free and there weren't any real problems, except for insects plagues in Stellenbosch and Paarl.'