South African grape harvest delay won't affect production

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South African grape harvest delay won't affect production

South Africa's table grape season has got off to a slow start due to cold weather which has delayed harvesting by several weeks, according to the sector's industry body.

The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) said the Northern Province and Orange River Region have pushed back harvesting by two weeks and will start in week 45 (Nov. 11) and week 46 (Nov. 18.).

Olifants River is expected to start in week 48 (Dec. 2), Berg River will start harvesting around week 50 (Dec. 16) and Hex Valley River should start around week 52 (Dec. 30).

SATI said the delay shouldn't affect production but added harvest dates were still subject to weather conditions remaining "favorable".

It reported veraison (onset of ripening) had already begun for early white varieties in the Northern Province and Orange River.

"Berry sizes currently on early whites are excellent," it said.

Flame seedless from the Orange River region have also started veraison from last week and will continue until next week. SATI said it was too early to comment on early red and mid-season red and black varieties.

Exports for the 2010-11 season were down year-on-year by 13% at 201,514 metric tons (MT). The U.K., Northern Europe and the Middle East all imported less with South East Asia as the only market to show a rise, at 25%.

Exports for the forthcoming season are expected to be up to 16% on last season.

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