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South Africa’s harvest shrinks by 15%

South Africa’s 2018 harvest is 15% smaller than last year’s, according to VinPro, which has blamed tough growing conditions for the decline.

“The 2018 harvest season was really challenging, due to a prolonged drought which some believe to be the worst in 100 years, and accompanied by water restrictions and frost damage in some areas,” said Francois Viljoen, manager of Vinpro’s viticultural consultation service.

Harpers reports that the Olifants River region was hardest hit due to a water allocation of just 20% of the area’s normal allowance.

But despite these challenges, consumers can look forward to “some really good wines” from the 2018 vintage, according to Viljoen.

“The berries were much smaller than usual, which affected the total tonnage. Smaller berries usually have good colour and flavour intensity and this, along with cooler weather during harvest time relieved some pressure on vines and bode well for quality.”

Wines of South Africa, meanwhile, said it felt “very positive” about the potential quality of the grapes from the harvest. CEO Siobhan Thompson noted that, “It shows true character, not only in the quality of our terroir, but also from our winemakers, to adapt and overcome such challenging conditions in order to remain viable.”

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