Cape Drought Makes South African Wine Pricier But Tastier

(Bloomberg) -- The drought in South Africa’s Northern and Western Cape provinces is billed as the worst on record, with Cape Town residents forsaking baths in favor of 90-second showers. At least the wine is getting better.

Drier weather meant fewer pests damaging vine leaves in the world’s eighth-biggest wine producer and the warm temperatures helped boost the quality of the 2018 vintage, according to Vinpro, which represents 2,500 wine producers and cellars in the local industry of 36 billion rand ($2.9 billion) annually. Varietals ranging from sauvignon blanc to pinotage, a local hybrid of pinot noir and cinsaut, have benefited.

“Greater variation between night and day temperatures during the ripening stage gave the color and flavor formation a further boost, which are indicative of remarkable quality wines,” Vinpro said.

Still, the three-year drought has left a toll. The harvest is expected to fall 15 percent to 948 million liters (250 million gallons), resulting in an estimated 8 percent to 11 percent increase in prices.

For consumers around the world who enjoy the 20 million glasses of South African wine drunk daily, that may be a price worth paying.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.