Dippenaar Choice Fruit has four pack houses, the largest of which has a daily packing capacity of 20 000 cartons. Credit: Dippenaar Choice Fruit Almost a third of South Africa’s table grape crop is produced in this fertile region. The South African table grape industry has been investing in hardier varietals which produce a better yield. A variety of seedless grapes dominate plantings, with Thompson Seedless, Prime, Sugraone, Grapaes and Crispy Flame Seedless among the most popular. If ambitious plans to create a Special Economic Zone at Upington come to fruition, the grape, raisin and wine traders of the Northern Cape could get their products to market more quickly. There are plans to add 40 000 tons of grapes for wine, juice and raisins to the Northern Cape’s capacity. A draft six-year plan has been developed for the Northern Cape Vineyard Development Scheme. Of the Sultana grapes grown in the Lower Orange River Region, 70% are used for vine-fruit products. There are 1 250 Sultana grape growers in the province, producing three Sultana-type grapes which rank among the best in the world: the Sultana Clone H5, a new hybrid called Merbein Seedless, which has proved resistant to splitting after rain, and the most popular type, the 143B. Rain is almost always good news for farmers, but its timing can bring bad tidings for grape farmers. In just two days in January 2021 Kakamas received 1 000mm of rain but packing of table grapes had not yet been completed. However, the geographical diversity of the region is such that crop estimates in March 2021 still suggested the region would produce more than 18-million cartons, a good return.
ONLINE RESOURCES Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development: www.agrinc.gov.za Raisins South Africa: www.raisinsa.co.za South African Table Grape Industry: www.satgi.co.za SA Wine Industry Information & Systems: www.sawis.co.za
The Northern Cape’s Orange River wine region accounts for 25.6% of South Africa’s Colombard vines and 10% of Chenin Blanc. The focus is on Colombard and Hanepoot grapes. Orange River Cellars (ORC) is the region’s biggest producer, sourcing its grapes as it does from 850 grape producers in the area known as the Green Kalahari. ORC has a winery at its head office in Upington and a further four at Keimoes, Groblershoop, Kakamas and Grootdrink. Orange River Concentrate Producers (part of the ORC group) produces about 7.5-million litres of white grape juice concentrate, a percentage of which is exported to Japan where the Itochu Corporation uses it in soft drinks and food. The Douglas Wine Cellar produces about 6 000 cases per year. Together with the Landzicht cellar (just over the border in the Free State), the Douglas Wine Cellars is a GWK company. The Douglas cellar crushes 7 000 tons of grapes ever y year and produces 5.6-million litres of wine. Hartswater Wine Cellar is a part of the region’s other big agricultural company, Senwes. Two wine brands (Overvaal and Elements) are produced in the Hartswater irrigation area north of Kimberley. Vinpro is an organisation that 2 500 South African wine grape producers, wineries and winerelated businesses. ■ NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2021/22