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Viticulture Division is committed to establish practical, environment friendly and economically justifiable cultivation practices that would enable all South African farmers to produce grapes and grape products of acceptable quality.
Grapes are grown commercially in 90 countries worldwide on almost 8 million hectare. Of South Africa's 10,050 deciduous fruit producers, roughly half produce specifically grapes for the wine industry. Since the first grape vine was planted during 1659 grape producers increased dramatically to such an extend that South Africa have emerged as major exporters of table grapes and wine.
Viticulture, as an agricultural industry in South Africa, embraces the production of wine and spirits and of table grapes as well as the manufacture of dried products of the vine.
The main objective is to develop
vineyard management systems to grow grapes with specified quality
attributes and accelerating the adoption of environmentally sustainable
vineyard practices. The projects of this program focus on practical
management techniques to increasing the yield and quality of table and
raisin grapes under South African conditions in order to be competitive
on the international markets.
Numerous new products are annually
released in the viticulture sector. Chemical companies often approach
the division to evaluate new and existing products in trials. Though the
active ingredient of products may be similar, differences in the
formulation could pose a problem to the producer due to possible
negative effects such as berry blemishes especially in the case of table
grapes, berry abscission or phytotoxicity.
The South African Wine Industry is committed to produce grape and wine of high
quality to meet challenges of increasingly competitive national and
international markets. In order to achieve this goal, it is vital that
the mechanisms controlling the composition of the grape berry be
understood. The general objective of the projects of this program is to
determine the effect of soil, climate and management practices on grape
composition and wine quality.
program also includes the maintenance and expansion of a Vitis gene bank
which provides genetic material for cultivar evaluation as well as raw
material for breeding purposes and taxonomic, physiological and plant
Cultivars and clones that are available from
breeding programs throughout the world is being assessed for their
adaptability for production.
Special emphasis is given to material that
gives economical returns to the producers and is acceptable to the
market while being adaptable to lower input of nutrients pest control
materials, and water.
The researchers of the Division network with other
national and international institutions and organisations to establish
and maintain scientific relations with other scientists.
Several overseas scientists spent some time in the
plant physiology laboratory of Prof. Hunter .to study the biochemistry
and factors involved in the optimal ripening processes of wine grapes.
The program focuses on the
development of information systems to address the needs of Small Holder
Farmers and to facilitate technical and financial linkages between
communities, organizations and institutions. This program's includes the
training and education of farmers of the second economy in South Africa
how to use table, raisin and wine grapes and/or skills involved as a
resource to lift their standard of living. The division provides
education on emerging issues through workshops, on-farm demonstrations
and applied research, informational materials and personal consultation.
Examples of current areas of focus are alternative farming systems,
small-scale and urban agriculture, integrated pest management, soil and
water quality protection and farmland preservation.
HUNTER, J.J., 1999. Leaf removal machine
leaf removal machine has been developed to use of the machine, instead
of leaf removal by hand, has the effect that leaf removal be started
slightly later, when bunches start hanging, in order to prevent the
bunches from being sucked in.
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