South African grape exports gather momentum

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South African grape exports gather momentum

South Africa's latest table grape export figures show more than 4 million cartons of the fruit were shipped in the season to week 49.

South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) statistics show exports to date are just over half what they were at the same time in 2010, due to a two-week harvest delay.

In week 46, the country's grape exports were down 92% on the 2010-11 season.

Orange River has recorded the largest intakes to date with 4,891,274 cartons, followed by the Northern Province (1,298424) and Olifants River (27,096).

The last of the Northern Province's Prime and Flame Seedless were being packed during the week, while the bulk of volumes were Sugrathirteen and Black Gem. It is expected the region's first Red Globes will be packed in week 52, with a hot and dry climate providing 'excellent' harvesting conditions.

SATI said around 50% of Orange River's Sugraone harvest has been packed in much earlier areas, while good volumes of Prime and Flame Seedless grapes were still being packed in Kanoneiland and Groblershoop.

"Early indications are that the harvest to date in early areas [of Orange River] is 5-8% below expectations," the report said.

The grape body said all producers in Olifants River have started packing but some growers have stopped to wait for grapes to reach optimum sugar levels.

SATI said a very small amount of Prime grapes were picked in Berg River in week 50, but significant volumes from the region would only begin in week 52.

It is expected the first grapes from the Hex River Valley will be packed in week 1, 2012, with the development of bunches and berries looking 'very good' to date with healthy-looking vineyards too.

Northern Europe was the largest export market for the season to week 49 with 2 million cartons, followed by the U.K. (1.6 million) and the Far East (176,000).

Related story: SA grape harvest underway

Photo: SATI

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