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All things table grapes at Welgevallen

In 2020 a small table- and raisin grape vineyard was established on Welgevallen Experimental Farm as part of the Welgevallen vineyard re-establishment project. The idea behind establishing this vineyard was to have an on-site demonstration block which can be used in our undergraduate teaching to showcase different cultivars as well as the different trellis systems used in industry. This vineyard is a valuable resource and has enabled us to make students more aware of the table- and raisin grape industry as well.

Over the past four seasons the vines have been developed and in early 2024 we officially harvested our first grapes from these vines! This was a very exciting milestone for us. We have also had two intern students, Mr Phumlani Mhlongo and Ms Malesetsha Tleane, assisting in the management of the block in the 2023/24 season and they are very proud of their vineyard! All of this could not have been possible without the support of the Faculty of AgriSciences, Vinpro, the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) and the numerous sponsors – a big, big thank you to you all! We are looking forward to the next harvest season!

Our proud vineyard team who has helped make this season a successful one. From left, Mr Brian Heathcote, Ms Malesetsha Tleane and Mr Phumlani Mhlongo.

The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) is an important partner for the Department of Viticulture and Oenology. We strive to build and maintain industry relationships so that we can align our teaching and research endeavors with the needs of industry. Without the support of our funders and insights from producers this will not be possible. On 12 April 2024, the Department of Viticulture and Oenology (DVO) and the South African Grape and Wine Research Institute (SAGWRI) hosted members from SATI to discuss our future collaborations and opportunities for further enhancing our teaching in the field of table- and raisin grapes. This was also an opportunity to showcase the demonstration table- and raising grape block at Welgevallen to our guests – many of whom have not yet seen this block before. This meeting was the first of future interactions to come and we look forward to sharing our work with our industry partners along the way.

Members of the Department of Viticulture and Oenology and the South African Table Grape Industry.

Members of the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) visit the table- and raising grape vineyard on Welgevallen Experimental farm.

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