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Oranjerivier Grape, Raisin Production to Fall After Flooding

Oranjerivier Wine Cellars, a South African grape producer and vintner, said its output of wine grapes will fall about 36 percent this year after floods damaged vineyards.

The wine-grape harvest will come to about 100,000 metric tons, Henning Burger, the cooperative’s viticulture manager, said today by phone. Raisin production at Upington, South Africa-based Oranjerivier probably will slide by half to 25,000 tons, he said.

“These are just estimates at this stage, as the full effect of the flooding hasn’t yet been calculated,” Burger said.

Floods on the Orange River damaged vines in late January and early February. Heavier-than-normal rains may persist for months, the South African Weather Department said Jan. 26. The country is the world’s 10th-largest grape producer, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

“We can’t comment on the cost to farmers yet, but it is very heavy,” Burger said, adding that infrastructure was damaged as well as crops.

Oranjerivier, started in 1965, is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest grape-producing cooperative and ranks second worldwide by harvest size, according to its website.

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