Private Bag X5026, Stellenbosch, 7599  ~  Tel: +27 (0)21 809 3023  ~  Fax: +27 (0)21 809 3002  ~  Email:

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.

Cultivation of table and raisin grapes​Contract research for national and international clients

Table grape-th.png

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.

Cultivation of wine grapes Development of technologies and management systems
for small holder farmers

Wine grape-th.png

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.

This 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 pathological studies.

​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.



The 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.

>>> Back to ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij Homepage