January is the time of year when South African grapes are ripe and picked. This year is a bumper crop of South African grapes, but vineyard owners and vintners are full of worries. Affected by the epidemic, there is a huge backlog of South African wine for 2020 and vintners are eager to enter the Chinese market.
Image from: CCTV
According to the South African Wine Industry Association (Sawis), remaining stocks of South African wine producers have reached between 280 million and 300 million liters. 2020 local sales are down 21% from the previous year and overseas markets have shrunk significantly. It is expected that a large amount of premium wine grapes will have to go to juice producers, but that price is 40% lower than for winemaking. Some will also go to industrial manufacturing, such as alcohol sanitizers. But the purchase price is also much lower than for winemaking.
Daneel Rossouw, southern regional agriculture manager of Nedbank, one of the four largest banks in South Africa, told reporters that South African wine has a good reputation in China and the weak exchange rate makes South African wine exports more attractive. But if the emerging markets cannot be opened soon, 80 wineries and 350 growing groups may exit the industry in the next 18 months.