Wine industry adapts to drought

The South African wine industry is looking towards new technology and adaptive practices to buffer the serious effect of the ongoing drought in the Western Cape.

“The drought situation and water restrictions require wine grape producers to change the way in which they apply water in the vineyard,” said Francois Viljoen, manager of wine industry body VinPro’s viticultural consultation service.

VinPro and Winetech (Wine Industry Network for Expertise and Technology) presented a series of information days, themed Efficient Irrigation in Periods of Water Scarcity, in the respective wine-growing areas in September. The information days were sponsored by Netafim.

According to André Roux, former director of sustainable resource management at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture population growth, low rainfall and global warming will increase pressure on water resources. The agricultural sector currently uses 60% of the water available. “There is simply no water available for expansions; we will have to use water more efficiently, for example through the recycling of water for agricultural purposes,” said Roux.

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