In the Orange River, the Olifants River and the Berg River regions producers have had the pleasure of seeing their initial grape estimates adjusted upwards – in recent years it’s been the other way around – as the Western Cape recovers from the drought.

However, rain over the Hex River Valley had more of an impact than initially thought, with the damage on some mid-season varieties only manifesting itself two or three weeks after the rain. Consequently the export estimate for this region has been reduced by 2 million 4.5kg equivalent cartons.

The region is packing Crimson, but a shorter season than usual is expected as a result of the early start.

In its two-weekly newsletter the South African Table Grape Industry writes: “Packing in the Berg River continues under ideal warm and dry weather conditions aiding quality. About 60% of producers in this region are expected to have full pack weeks for a further 2 weeks. They are currently packing Crimson, Adora, Scarlotta and Allison. This region is predicted to reach or even exceed the upper limit of the third crop estimate.”

Despite concerns over the accessibility of the Chinese market due to coronavirus and the postponement of a planned promotional campaign for South African grapes, Far Eastern grape exports are up over last year by week 8, but trade is still heavily in favour of the European Union (receiving 49% of South Africa’s grapes by week 8) and the United Kingdom (25% by the same period).

Total exports are well up over last year, just shy of 50 million cartons compared to last year’s 45.5 million cartons by end week 8.

SATI also announced that the tenth International Table Grape Symposium will be hosted in 2023 in Cape Town. – freshplaza.com