The SA wine grape harvest for 2019 will hit a record low, largely due to the drought and fluctuating weather conditions during the growing season, estimates by the SA Wine Industry and Systems (Sawis) have shown. Sawis says the wine grape crop is estimated at 1,225,620 tonnes. Although only 1.4% smaller than last year, the crop has shrunk for the second consecutive year and 2019 represents a record low since 2005 when 1,171,632 tonnes were harvested. Wine is one of SA’s main agricultural exports, with nearly 100,000ha of vineyards, mostly in the Western Cape, accounting for 4% of world production. The industry contributes R36bn to GDP and employs nearly 290,000 people. However, wine grape producers have been under severe financial pressure in recent years with more than a third of producers making a loss. The industry now has about 25% fewer producers than a decade ago, according to wine producers body VinPro.

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