Distell sees 5% rise in grape yield
Business Day - Apr 12th 2012, 09:34
Detailed information about optimal ripening helps the company plan harvest of individual vineyards, good sales growth lifts profits
DISTELL , the JSE-listed wine maker of brands such as JC Le Roux, Graça and Nederburg, said yesterday that this year’s grape harvest yields grew 5%.
This is despite the early January heat spikes, initially a cause for concern, as well as shortages of water in some areas, Callie van Niekerk, who heads Distell’s winery operations, said.
"The 2012 harvest has produced excellent-quality aromatic whites and reds of intense colour and well-balanced ripeness.
"The average, however, doesn’t tell the full story of the crop losses in some dryland vineyards as a result of the lack of rain, nor of those areas that had access to supplementary irrigation and saw yields up 10%-15% on last year," Mr van Niekerk said.
Distell’s research into ripening and ideal harvest times was proving to be a sizeable advantage to the company, he said.
"By planning wines in the vineyard, we follow different strategies where viticultural practices are matched with eventual wine style and price point.
"With the diversity of offerings within our portfolio, our access to more detailed information about optimal ripening helps us plan with greater accuracy the harvest times of individual vineyard blocks and to co-ordinate the related logistics."
Earlier this year, Distell said good global sales growth and a more favourable exchange rate helped lift operating profit by 22,4% year on year for the six months to December 31. Revenue grew 15,9% to R8bn on a total sales volume increase of 10,2%.
Distell’s wine segment delivered double-digit export growth thanks to growing demand for in-house branded offerings successfully developed for supermarket chains, as well as the strong performances of brands such as Drostdy-Hof in Scandinavia and the UK, and Nederburg and Two Oceans in North America.
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