South Africa May Produce Third-Biggest Wine-Grape Crop in 2013

South Africa will probably produce the third-biggest wine-grape crop on record in 2013 as favorable weather and better planting practices boost yields, an industry association said.

The harvest is expected to be 1.38 million metric tons in the 2013 season compared to an estimate of 1.39 million tons this year and production of 1.4 million tons in 2011, the Paarl-based South African Wine Industry Information & Systems said in an e-mailed statement today. The country produced its largest crop in 2008, with output of 1.43 million tons, according to data on Sawis’s website.

South Africa is the world’s ninth-biggest wine producer and mainly grows white grapes, including chenin blanc, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, while red varieties include Pinotage, a hybrid developed in the country. The bulk of vines are in the Western Cape province.

The year has seen “one of the best winter seasons in the Western Cape for many years,” it said. “Wine producers have continuously adapted viticultural practices and increased yields per hectare, while retaining quality, in an attempt to align costs with grape and wine prices.”

Domestic sales of natural wine in the year to October increased 2.4 percent to 319.3 million liters (84 million gallons), compared to the previous year. Natural-wine exports in the year to November advanced 18 percent amid higher exports of bulk and white wine.