Planting rush leads to California vine shortage29th March, 2012 by Martin Crummy
Californian grape growers are facing a shortage of vines as they rush to plant by May.
Nurseries reported big demand in the summer and autumn months as growers who missed the early frenzy are now scrambling for the final plants.
The price of wine is unlikely to be affected in the foreseeable future, however this development, could slow production at a time when growers are getting high prices for their grapes.
This demand for vines in California is something that hasn’t been seen since the 1990’s.
There are reports that blocks of Napa Valley and Mendocino properties won’t get planted this year because suppliers have run-out of the clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay that were earmarked for that land.
“Some of them are very unusual clones and some of them are very popular,” said David Beckstoffer, president of Beckstoffer Vineyards.
All of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay clones were sold out before Beckstoffer tried to put in an order at the end of last year.
“We could have compromised and gone with different clones. But we’ve decided to wait to plant them until 2013. It’s not a disaster; we’ll just focus on other blocks for now,” he added.
Vineyard experts cite a number of reasons for the sudden planting rush, including a grape shortage that has many farmers speculating on the future; the need to replant existing vineyards due to age, disease and pests; and keeping up with varietal trends.
The economy has also had an impact, as growers, who previously held back from planting their vineyards because of the cost, have decided this is the right time to invest again.