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Cape Drought Makes South African Wine Pricier But Tastier

  • Temperature variation boosted color and flavor formation
  • Wine prices to rise as much as 11%, according to Vinpro
A tractor passes vineyards in South Africa.

A tractor passes vineyards in South Africa.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

The drought in South Africa’s Northern and Western Cape provinces is billed as the worst on record, with Cape Town residents forsaking baths in favor of 90-second showers. At least the wine is getting better.

Drier weather meant fewer pests damaging vine leaves in the world’s eighth-biggest wine producer and the warm temperatures helped boost the quality of the 2018 vintage, according to Vinpro, which represents 2,500 wine producers and cellars in the local industry of 36 billion rand ($2.9 billion) annually. Varietals ranging from sauvignon blanc to pinotage, a local hybrid of pinot noir and cinsaut, have benefited.