1.1 Short-term

  • Consult the winemaker of your co-operative about the grading system requirements for particular cultivars.
  • Determine the degree of ripeness of the grapes of the various blocks and plan harvesting accordingly. (See Wynboer work programme of January for sampling procedure.) If available, the printed harvesting analysis of the KWV block record project of the previous year can be used as a guide to identify blocks to be harvested earlier and/or which (if any) were harvested at the wrong time.
  • See that all blocks are numbered in order to record the production of each one (tons, degrees sugar, pH and acid if available).


  • In considering the establisment of wine grapes, contact the agricultural economists at KWV Consultation Services for a detailed exposition of establishing cost and a break-even analysis to evaluate the profitability of the different options available.
  • In the event of a financial year ending in February and with the expectation of a substantial Income Tax assessment, it is proper to invest in productive capital, for example trellising or irrigation equipment, rather than investing in vehicles or implements.
  • Finalise bookkeeping activities of all financial transactions that occurred during the previous month. Compare the actual monthly expenditures with budgeted monthly expenditures for the current year as well as with actual expenditures of the previous year. In the case of irregularities, identify the cause and take affirmative steps to avoid recurrence.
  • For any inquiries in the field of agricultural economics, contact Johan Truter ( 021 – 8073043 ) or Paiter Botha ( 021 – 8073302 ). An extended range of agricultural economical services is available at a predetermined hourly rate.

1.2 Long-term

Establishing a Vineyard: “A Guide for Establishing a Vineyard”, compiled by KWV’s Consultation Service which contains the latest Technical and Financial information on this subject can be ordered from Mrs Gerda Kriel, tel. 021-8073027 .

Soil Preparation: Book contractors and order lime and/or phosphate and/or gypsum, if soil analyses indicate a shortage which should be supplemented during soil preparation. The correct method of soil preparation is the starting point of successful vineyard cultivation.

Cultivar Planning: If uncertain which cultivar and rootstock should be planted, consult your cellar manager and/or viticultural consultant. Decide during this harvesting season which vineyards are to be established during 1999 to enable you to order your vines in advance. Consult your February copy of Wynboer, when it appears, for the announcement of available plant material by the Vine Improvement Board. Note that plant material may only be ordered up to the end of March for 2000. You are strongly advised to order your vines from a nurseryman who makes use of certified vine plant material.

In order to produce good grapes, the following factors in the planning of the vineyard to be established, should be carefully considered:

  • Choose the correct cultivar and rootstock for the particular soil (“Terroir”).
  • A cultivar which is exceptionally resistant to odium should be planted in low-lying, fertile soil or else problems with rotting will be encountered. In addition to the cultivar, the rootstock, fertilising, direction of the rows, system of trellising, spacing of vines as well as weed and foliage control play an important role in the prevention and/or control of the disease.
  • On a particular soil where water is limited, an early cultivar or a drought resistant cultivar and rootstock should be planted.
  • Cultivars that are susceptible to delayed budburst, such as Chardonnay, Colombar and Cape Riesling should be planted on colder winter sites which are frost-free in spring. (See Wynboer Tegnies, No. 29, November 1988, p. 3: “Strategie vir bekamping van vertraagde bot by wingerd”.)

Block Layout: When establishing a vineyard the block should be laid out in such a way that the grapes can be transported rapidly and economically from the block.


Soil cultivation: Order cover crop seeds and prepare the seed bed for the sowing of the cover crop. A wiggle plough and/or root pruning action can be implemented in every second row immediately after harvest when soil moisture conditions are favourable for a good loosening action.

Disease and Pest control: Spray only when the safety period of the chemical allows. Spray residue may cause retarded fermentation and/or undesirable flavours in the wine. If weather conditions are unfavourable prior to harvesting and spraying is essential, consult your cellar manager or viticulture extension service officer before application. Disease control (especially odium) of late ripening cultivars as well as odium and downy mildew on young vines should not be neglected.

The sulphuring of vineyards with acute erinose infection, and where odium occurs on leaves and shoots is recommended.

Irrigation: Irrigation should not be applied immediately before harvesting. The correct choice of soil, soil preparation, rootstock and cultivar, as well as the irrigation schedule, will ensure that the vines are capable of ripening the grapes under diminishing soil water conditions. The irrigation of young vines should not be neglected.

Post harvest irrigation and fertilizing: This is very important and should be applied immediately. Irrigation at this stage contributes to the building up of plant reserves and the ripening of wood.

Irrigation stimulates root growth which is important for taking up nutrients during the post harvesting period. Post harvest fertilizing is very important for vineyards with normal or poor growth. Apply the necessary fertilizer before the post harvest irrigation. Vineyards growing too vigorously must not be fertilized after harvesting. (See Wynboer Tegnies, No. 36, Januarie 1990, p. 14 “Stikstofbemesting kan meer oordeelkundig na aanleiding van groeikrag geskied”). After harvest the water requirement of the vines is lower and the irrigation schedule should be adapted to prevent the vines from drowning due to over irrigation.

Foliage Control: Active vegetative growth during ripening is harmful to the quality of grapes. Prevent active growing tips in late ripening cultivars by lightly topping vines still growing at this stage. Judicious water stress may restrict active late shoot growth.

Development of young vines: Continue suckering and topping green shoots of vines in their second year of growth. With the correct attention and care the shape of the vine can, to a large extent, be formed prior to winter. Vines which have been grafted on the winter bud/green shoot method in November should receive careful attention and growing shoots must be tied at regular intervals.

Harvesting of Grapes: Time studies during harvesting indicate that management of the labour force, (supervision, organisation, piece work, etc.) and the physical condition of the vineyard (system of trellising, suckering, breaking away of leaves, etc.) are of the utmost importance to rapid harvesting (See Wynboer Tegnies, No. 28, June 1988, p. 3.)

  • Restrict the function of the labourer as far as possible to the cutting of grapes. A labourer who is hired to cut grapes and spends the greatest part of the day carrying baskets from the vineyard is not utilised effectively.
  • Simplify the task of the labourer in cutting grapes:
  • Grape bunches should hang at a convenient height, be easily visible and within easy reach (system of trellising, suckering and removal of leaves).
  • Use sharp secateurs and knives.
  • The productivity of labourers can be increased by good management and supervision, as well as bonus payments or piece work.
  • By harvesting during the coolest period of the day (sunrise to midday): The productivity of labourers is increased.
  • The quality of the grapes is at its best.
  • Less stress is placed on the cooling facilities of the cellar.


  • Harvest in clean containers and do not allow labourers to drag baskets of grapes along the ground.
  • Do not leave a load of grapes in the harvesting container overnight and do not crush grapes in the container.
  • If, as a result of conditions beyond your control, grapes of poorer quality are produced, such grapes must be delivered separately.
  • Your interest in the cellar should go beyond the off loading point – after all it is your product.
  • If the opportunity arises, labourers would appreciate a cellar tour. The danger of secateurs and stones in the grapes should be pointed out.


For viticulture enquiries consult your nearest KWV Viticulture Consultant.

Paarl/Wellington/Tulbagh: Bennie Liebenberg
(021) 8873018 , 083 455 5197
Gavin Taylor
(021) 8073418, 083 455 5193.
Malmesbury: Johan Pienaar
(021) 8870014, 083 309 7637
Nelius van Huyssteen
083 455 5198
Bennie Liebenberg
(021) 8073018, 083 455 5197 .
Robertson/Klein Karoo: Francois Viljoen
083 309 7626
Briaan Stipp
(02351 – 3017) 083 455 5196
Leon Dippenaar 083 455 5194
Stephan Joubert (02351) 3017.
Bonnievale: Hendrik Myburgh
(02351) 3017 or 083 455 5195.
Orange River: Dirk Malan
(054) 4612299, 082 495 7999
Dricus van der Westhuizen
(083 309 7625).
Stellenbosch: Johan Pienaar
083 309 7637
Cobus van Graan
(021- 8870014) (021) 8870014 .
Worcester: Schalk du Toit
083 303 0530
Pierre Snyman
(0231 – 72795) 083 455 5191
Anton Roos
083 629 1735
Hanno van Schalkwyk
083 455 5192 (0231) 72795.
Olifants River: Dricus van der Westhuizen
(083 309 7625).

1.Planning and design of new cellars (50 to 5 000 tons). A total package in this regard is now supplied by the service from cultivar recommendations, costings, cellar design incorporating the latest cellar technology through to the design and management of waste systems.
2.Upgrading of existing cellars to enable them to become internationally competitive.
3.Latest production methods regarding different cultivars and wine styles.
4.Recommendations regarding problem wines, adjustments and blends.

Eugene van Zyl can be contacted at 082 577 2758 .


Enquiries regarding planting material can be obtained from KWV’s Plant Improvement Division:

  • Clone information – Charles Visser (021) 8073036
  • Planting material purchase/availability – Andre le Roux (021) 8073019 .
  • Grafting and Nursery activities – Dirk Visser (021) 8073206 .


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