California grape crush falls nearly 10%

The Californian wine grape crush fell by nearly 10% in 2019, according to the official preliminary report, with prices for red and white wine grapes also falling 5% overall on 2018.

High acid white varieties like Vermentino are the way forward to California, believes Elaine Chukan Brown

The total grape crush published by the state’s department of food and agriculture (including table grapes and raisins) fell 9.3% to 4.5m tons. Red grapes (which makes up the largest share) down 12.8% and white wine grapes down 4.3%. Overall wine grapes fell 9.13% on 2018.

The average price of wine grapes also fell by 5%, with red wine grapes down 2.9%, and white grapes down 8.6%.

However, prices in Napa rose 3.9% in the year, to an average of $5,797.07 per ton, followed by Sonoma, up 0.2% to f $2,823.67.

Chardonnay, which held onto its position as the largest white grape variety, with around 15.6% of the total crush, saw average prices fall 7.3% to $899.83.

Meanwhile Cabernet Sauvignon, the second biggest grape variety by volume, with 14.1% of the total crush, saw prices rise 2.2% to $1,720.61.

According to the California Agricultural Statistics Service report, California crushed around 3.9 million tons of grapes in 2019 – around 8% less than in 2018, with red wine varieties down 12.8% to 2.1 million tons, and white wine varieties down 4.3% to 1.75 million tons.


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