Quality and resilience characterise South Africa's 2024 vintage

Quality and resilience characterise South Africa's 2024 vintage

Amsterdam, May 21 - The 2024 harvest season was a true test of the resilience of the South African wine industry. Despite varying climatic conditions, from frost and heavy winter rain to floods and wind, the industry's adaptability and agility made this harvest one of the most remarkable in recent history. With optimal ripening rates, small berries and moderate, dry conditions during harvest, the stage was set for top-quality wines that will supply domestic and more than 120 global markets.

Excellent winter conditions in most wine grape regions raised high expectations for the harvest", says Dr Etienne Terblanche, Vinpro Consultation Services Manager. "However, the main impact of spring conditions was the prolonged wet soil, which directly affected root systems and access to necessary plant reserves. The summer was markedly warmer and drier than the previous year, making harvesting even more complex. One of the striking aspects of this season was the exceptional hygienic condition of the grapes - a rarity in rainy harvest seasons and a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the industry.

The 2024 grape harvest yielded 1,099,051 tonnes from 87,848 hectares, down 7% from 2023, according to the latest harvest estimate from industry body SAWIS. Combined with strong market demand, this has resulted in the sector's wine stocks balancing out. The 2024 wine harvest - including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and wine for distillation - is estimated at 857.1 million litres, at a yield of 780 litres per tonne of grapes.

Early cultivars produced significantly smaller harvests than expected in most regions. Later red cultivars generally produced better harvests. Winemakers are enthusiastic about the overall wine quality, especially the full-bodied reds with exceptional colour and tannin extraction. In the white cultivar spectrum, wine lovers can look forward to fresh wines with ample texture and mouthfeel.

The 2023/2024 season may have presented its share of obstacles, but it also showed the resilience and determination of the South African wine industry," says Rico Basson, CEO of South Africa Wine. "This industry is resilient and our wine supply is now in balance. Despite fluctuations in crop yields and vineyard areas, we are ready to provide the world with exceptional quality and distinctive wines.”

South Africa is the seventh largest wine producer in the world, producing about 4% of all the world's wine. The wine industry contributes more than R56.5 billion to the country's GDP and employs 270,364 people across the value chain, including 85,962 on farms and in cellars.

Overview of production areas

Wide Gorge

Grape analyses of all cultivars were within the optimum range. For the white cultivars, it was a quality harvest. Colour development in reds was exceptional and generally improved compared to cooler vintages.

Cape South Coast

The grapes harvested in 2024 seemed very healthy due to the little rainfall during harvest. Juice yields were lower than normal, but the excellent quality is an important counterbalance.

Cape Town

White wines have good flavour intensity and reds are promising with good colour development. The favourable winter, sufficient and timely rainfall and dry summer conditions have resulted in an excellent season for producers and winemakers.

Little Karoo

The 2024 season will go down in history as one with exceptional rainfall and excellent wine quality. This shows that the timing of rainfall during the season is essential - in this case, the abundant rain at the right time had a positive impact on grape quality and yield. The wine quality of both white and red cultivars seems excellent at this early stage, and red wines look promising with intense colour extracts.

North Cape

The wines of this vintage have a riper, tropical profile compared to the previous season. The quality of the wines was better than expected, especially for the red cultivars, and wines with a fuller style seem to be the trend this year.

Elephant River

The 2024 season will be remembered as the flood year because of the exceptional impact and damage caused by floods. A consequence was a high pressure of downy mildew, but also innovative thinking, with producers using drones for the first time for more effective disease control. Despite significant flood losses, yields matched those of the previous season. Winemakers raved about wines of excellent quality.


The 2024 season will be remembered for its very wet and cold winter and spring, during which floods occurred and infrastructure was damaged. With the arrival of summer, the weather turned to very dry and windy conditions, affecting the size of the harvest. January was warm, bringing the harvest forward. Due to these weather conditions, there was a lot of variation between farms, cultivars and yields in the region.


Unusual climatic challenges characterised the 2024 season. High humidity in the first half of the growing season brought significant challenges. Weather conditions adversely affected yields of early cultivars, leading to low production. Despite the tonnage limitation, grapes were healthy and wine quality was excellent.


The 2024 season will go down in history as a season with high rainfall at the beginning of the season, but with little to no rainfall from late September to mid-February. Combined with warm summer temperatures, these conditions accelerated the ripening of early cultivars, leading to lower yields for early cultivars and, in some cases, less available irrigation water. However, the dry conditions produced grapes of excellent quality. Super wines are expected for the 2024 vintage.


The 2024 season will go down in history as one with a smaller harvest than initially expected. Favourable winter conditions made a larger harvest possible. However, wet spring conditions during budding and very dry, windy and hot summer weather affected the final size of the harvest. However, the quality of the grapes was excellent and excellent red wines are expected.


Winemakers agree that most grapes were pressed at optimum ripeness with optimum sugar content and will produce full-bodied wines. White cultivars were well protected from the heat wave in early February thanks to the availability of sufficient irrigation water. Colour development across the spectrum of red cultivars improved. In recent years, many marginal red cultivar blocks were uprooted and new vines planted. The positive impact on red wine production in the Worcester region is now becoming evident.

Read the full eye strain report 2024 here.

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