A grape is the fruit that grows on the deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten fresh or used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins and grape seed oil. In South Africa grapes are grown either to be pressed, dried or for ready consumption from the table.
Table grapes are grapes intended for consumption while they are fresh, as opposed to grapes grown for wine production, juice production, or for drying into raisins. Table varieties usually have lower sugar content than wine grapes and are more flavourful when eaten. Their flavours, however, do not survive fermentation and their low sugar content means that any wine produced from them is weak, bland-tasting and easy to deteriorate.
The Orange River; the valleys of the Hex, Berg and Olifants Rivers; and Limpopo province are the main producers of table grapes (find the “Regions” option at www.satgi.co.za).
Grapes other than “Table grapes”
The main wine grape producing areas are Worcester, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Malmesbury, Robertson, the Olifants River, the Orange River and the Little Karoo. The reader is referred to the “Dried fruit” and “Wine” chapters for information on grapes used for those sectors.
Viticulture (from the Latin word for vine) is the science, production and study of grapes which deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is also known as viniculture. It is one branch of the science of horticulture.
Oenology (sometimes Enology) is the science of wine and winemaking i.e. after vine-growing and grape harvesting. See the separate chapter “Wine”.
International business environment
- The biggest exporters of table grapes are Chile, the USA, Italy, Netherlands, Peru and South Africa.
- The biggest importers of table grapes are the USA, Netherlands, UK, Germany, China and Hong Kong China.
Source: SATI, 2014/15
World production is forecast flat at 24.3 million tons as growth in China and India makes up for weather related losses in the European Union and Turkey (USDA, June 2018).
Local business environment
The reader is encouraged to visit www.satgi.co.za. The Statistics Book provides a comprehensive picture of the industry. Also worth reading is the latest annual Table Grape Market Value Chain Profile at www.daff.gov.za.
- Table and dry grapes are one of the most important deciduous fruit grown in South Africa, taking into consideration their foreign exchange earnings, employment creation and linkage with support institutions.
- Table grapes sold in the export markets generate a greater unit price than that achieved on the local market. For this reason, management orientation and understanding of the rules of the export markets are critical factors in the pathway to success in table grape production.
- Up to 90% of the total production is exported, mostly to Europe and the UK where South Africa enjoys preferential market access through the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the EU. Estimated turnover for the sector is estimated at over R1.5 billion per annum.
- The bulk of sales to the consumer are by means of contractual agreements via preferred category suppliers to the large supermarket chains. Furthermore, various export companies or agents conduct work on the basis of consignment sales on behalf of the growers or packers. The industry operates in a deregulated environment where prices are determined by the market forces of demand and supply.
Find the “Transformation” option at www.satgi.co.za.
The Power of the Grape “tells the story of empowerment projects and new partnerships in the North West Province, Mpumalanga, the Orange River, the Olifants River, the Berg River Valley and South Africa’s oldest grape region, the Hex River Valley”. Find this and the Success stories options under “Communications” on the South African Table Grape Industry website – www.satgi.co.za.
National strategy and government contact
- Table grapes, citrus and vegetables are looked at in chapter 6 of the National Development Plan (NDP) as areas in which jobs can be created.
- Find details of the different directorates at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) under “Branches” at www.daff.gov.za.
- The Perishable Products Exports Control Board (PPECB) acts for government in terms of the Agricultural Products Standards Act 119 of 1990 and controls and certifies that quality standards of these products are met. See www.ppecb.com.
Associations and industry organisations
- Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) Tel: 021 526 0474 www.fpefsa.co.za
- Fruit SA Tel: 012 007 1150 www.fruitsa.co.za
- South African Society for Enology and Viticulture (SASEV) Tel: 021 889 6311 www.sasev.org
- South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) Tel: 021 863 0366 www.satgi.co.za On the website find contact details for the regional co-ordinators in the Orange, Olifants, Berg and Hex river areas, and in Limpopo.
- Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) Tel: 0861 111 568 http://siza.co.za/
Training and research
Find the “Research & technology” option at www.satgi.co.za.
The Table Grape Academy comprises the:
- Viticulture (Table Grape Science) lecturing post at Stellenbosch University.
- SATI/ARC/ Elsenburg Modular Course in Table Grape production.
- Audio Visual Materials and other training materials used by the industry for the industry.
- Various bursaries.
- Various training and mentorship programmes for emerging producers and middle managers.
The Modular Course in Table Grape Production is presented by SATI, ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij and Elsenburg.
Developing skills and best practices for grape farmers in the Northern Cape
A long-term empowerment programme in the Northern Cape has helped previously disadvantaged farmers improve their grape farming knowledge and financial management skills. The project is an Agricultural Research Council (ARC) led collaboration between several government and non-governmental organisations, as well as two private companies in the fruit and wine industry. Since 1997, the project has offered farmers days, business management training courses, workshops, and on-farm consultations to the communities of Eksteenskuil and Releaboga. The project has resulted in many new wine and raisin grape vineyards being established.
Source: Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
- ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij Tel: 021 809 3100 www.arc.agric.za Training covers: (i) Selection of cultivars and site selection (ii) Soil preparation and establishment of trees (iii) Irrigation principles and practices (iv) Fertilisation principles and practices (v) Weed control (vi) Canopy management and suckering (vii) Identification and control of pests and diseases (viii)Harvesting and post-harvest handling of fruit.
- Cape Peninsular University of Technology (CPUT) Horticulture Tel: 021 959 6512 www.cput.ac.za National Diplomas in agriculture and agricultural management, as well as BTech and MTech degrees focusing on viticulture and oenology
- Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute Tel: 021 808 9111 www.elsenburg.com Table Grape Production is presented at Elsenburg as a complete Viticulture module both within the B Agric programme (3 year degree programme) and the Higher Certificate programme (2 year certificate programme).
- HORTGRO Science Tel: 021 882 8470 www.hortgro-science.co.za
- Institute for Grape and Wine Sciences (IGWS) http://igws.co.za A joint venture between the South African wine and table grape industries and Stellenbosch University to enhance the international competitiveness of the wine and table grape industries.
- Lowveld College of Agriculture Tel: 013 753 3064 http://dardlea.mpg.gov.za Short courses in table grape production are given
- South African Agri Academy Tel: 021 880 1277 www.agriacademy.co.za
- Stellenbosch University Department of Horticultural Science Tel: 021 808 2112 www.sun.ac.za/horticulture Department of Viticulture and Oenology Tel: 021 808 4545
- Afrifresh Group Tel: 021 763 7600 www.afrifresh.co.za
- AMC Fruit SA Tel: 021 851 1234 www.munoz.co.za
- AS Viljoen & Seuns Boerdery Tel: 023 354 8713 http://asvfarms.co.za
- Bet-El Fruits Tel: 021 863 3146 www.betelfruits.co.za
- Bonaire Fruits Tel: 021 876 2250
- Bonfrut Tel: 076 610 2823 www.bonfrut.co.za
- Bono Farm Management Tel : 021 657 4000 www.bonoholdings.co.za
- Boschkrans Boerdery Tel : 013 262 3481
- Capespan (Pty) Ltd Tel: 021 917 2600 www.capespan.co.za
- Corefruit Tel: 021 863 6300 www.corefruit.com
- Creation Fruit Tel : 028 314 0035
- Delecta Fruit Tel: 021 860 3999 www.delecta.co.za
- Delica Global Export Tel: 071 291 3109 www.delicaglobal.com
- Denau Boerdery Tel : 023 357 9727 www.denau.co.za
- DKI Fruit Marketing Tel: 021 855 4888 http://dkifruit.co.za
- Dole SA Tel: 021 983 3600 http://dolesa.co.za
- Du Toit Group Tel: 023 312 1071 www.dutoit.com
- ELE Trading Tel: 021 976 0604 http://eletrading.co.za
- Emex International Tel: 021 554 0522 www.emexintl.com
- EXSA Tel: 021 914 8280 http://exsa.com/
- Favourite Fresh Export Tel: 021 880 6626 www.ffesa.co.za
- Franschhoek Tel: 021 876 3141 www.freshnessfirst.co.za
- Freshgold SA Exports Tel: 021 555 1966 www.freshgoldsa.co.za
- Freshworld Tel: 021 808 7100 www.freshworld.co.za
- Fruits Unlimited Tel: 021 860 1800 www.fruits.co.za
- Fruitworks Tel: 021 872 8327 http://fruitworks.co.za/
- FVC International Tel: 021 505 5960 www.fvci.co.za
- Global Pacific Produce SA Tel: 021 202 8080 www.globalpacificproduce.com
- Grape Alliance Marketing Tel: 023 354 8154 www.grapealliance.co.za
- Green Marketing Tel: 021 874 1055 www.gmint.co.za
- Hendri Pieterse Boerdery Tel: 082 387 3901 www.hnpieterse.co.za
- Hoekstra Fruit Farms Tel: 021 869 8567 www.hoekstrafruitfarms.co.za
- Idea Fruit Tel: 021 851 0126 www.ideafruit.co.za
- In2Fresh Tel: 012 482 6656 www.in2fresh.co.za
- In2Fruit Tel: 021 874 1055
- In Season Marketing Tel: 021 943 5960 www.inseason.co.za
- Jo-Rie Products Tel: 021 979 1645
- Karpus Exports Tel: 011 483 3360 www.karpussa.com
- Le Roux Group Tel: 021 864 1967 www.lerouxgroup.co.za
- New Vision Fruit Tel: 021 979 5241 www.karsten.co.za
- Orex Export Tel: 054 431 6100 www.orexexport.com
- Pitto Tel: 054 431 0302 www.pitto.co.za
- Pomona Fruit Tel: 023 626 1890 www.pomonafruit.com
- Rainbow Produce Company Tel: 021 874 1055
- SA Fruit Brothers Tel: 021 883 3142 / 880 2761
- SAFE Farm Ventures Tel: 021 657 4000
- SAFPRO Tel: 041 581 0886 www.safpro.net
- SAMAPRO Tel: 044 533 0201 http://samapro.co.za
- SAPEX Exports Tel: 021 883 8280
- Seaboard International Tel: 021 419 9929
- Seven Seas Tel: 021 851 2098 www.sevenseasfruit.com
- Sinogold Tel: 021 674 5395 www.sinogold.co.za
- Siyazama Tel: 023 356 3328
- Southern Cross Marketing Tel: 021 883 2408 www.southerncrossmarketing.co.za
- Southern Fruit Growers Tel: 021 852 4012 www.southernfruit.co.za
- Stargrow Fruit Marketing Tel: 021 880 1882 www.stargrow.co.za
- Suiderland Plase Tel: 021 945 1390 www.suiderlandplase.co.za
- The Grape Company Tel: 021 860 3400 www.thegrapeco.co.za
- Top 8 Fruit Growers Tel: 082 387 3901 www.top8.co.za
- Triple D Farms Tel: 054 431 1568
- Unichoice Produce Direct Tel: 021 914 5838 www.unichoice.co.za
- Unifrutti Tel: 021 852 8494 www.unifrutti.com
- United Exports Tel: 021 851 1618 www.united-exports.com
- Univeg South Africa Tel: 021 880 1707 www.univeg.com
- Vanguard International Tel: 083 680 5156 www.vanguardteam.com
- Venganix Tel: 021 945 1390 www.suiderlandplase.co.za
- Vintage Group Tel: 028 841 4313
- WP Fresh Distributors Tel: 021 880 1310 www.wpfresh.co.za
Companies: services and inputs
- Carel van Niekerk Engineering Tel: 022 913 2435 www.piket.co.za
- ExperiCo Tel: 021 887 1134 www.experico.co.za
- Felco Tools Africa Pty Ltd Tel: 021 905 1890 www.felco.co.za
- Frudata Tel: 021 914 9648 www.frudata.co.za
- HORTEC Services Tel: 021 859 4242 www.hortec.co.za
- Kaap Agri Tel: 022 482 8000 www.kaapagri.co.za (vine farming machinery)
- New Holland South Africa Tel: 011 922 2300 www.nhsa.co.za (grape harvesters)
- PELLENC SA Tel : 021 863 1378 www.pellenc.com/agriculture/en/
- Vinpro Tel: 021 276 0429 www.vinpro.co.za
- Vititec Tel: 021 276 0469 www.vititec.com
Websites and publications
- Refer to websites listed earlier in this chapter e.g. www.satgi.co.za.
- The annual Fresh Fruit Exporter Directory gives trade statistics for the table grapes and other fruit sectors. Download it at the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) website, www.fpefsa.co.za.
- Table grapes is covered in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF) annual publications on market value chains. Find these on the Directorate Marketing web pages at www.daff.gov.za. The Abstract of Agricultural Statistics on the DAFF website (take “Branches”, “Administration” and “Statistics and economic analysis”) includes statistics on grapes – production, sales on markets, exports, purchases for processing etc. DAFF also has “Production guidelines: grapes” which can be downloaded under the “Resource centre” option on its website.
- The ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij has a list of numerous publications on table grape production. This can be found on its pages at www.arc.agric.za. Also from them is series of full colour pamphlets discussing how to identify, control and prevent various diseases and pests in the vineyard. Contact 021 809 3305.
- Issue 10 (September 2017) of Agripreneur sees the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) Transformation Review Committee (TRC) visit black-players in the table grape sector. Find the document at www.namc.co.za.
- The DAFF-NAMC Trade Probe 70 (Aug 2017) contains an outline of South Africa’s table grape opportunities under the SACU-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. Find the document at www.namc.co.za.
- Du Preez, J. 2018, July 12. “De Doorns’ empowerment table grape farm”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-business/empowerment/de-doorns-empowerment-table-grape-farm/
- Kriel, G. 2018, January 11. “Table grapes: how to speed up production in new vines”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/crops/field-crops/table-grapes-speed-production-new-vines
- Digital Team. 2017, December 14. “Fruit production: Get the right rootstock for planting grapes”. African Farming.com. Available at www.africanfarming.com/fruit-production-get-right-rootstock-planting-grapes/
- Read the article “Table grape farmer increases turnover by 900%” (Farmer’s Weekly 23 September 2016).