USDA Releases California’s Preliminary Grape Crush Report

The report, based on information from the state’s growers, looks back on 2017 to analyze the different varieties, grape prices and more.

The United States Department of Agriculture has released its 2017 preliminary Grape Crush Report for California. Based on self-reporting from the state’s growers, the statistical arm of the federal agency said the total amount of grapes crushed was 4,233,288 tons. This is up nearly 0.5% from the 4,217,154 tons crushed in 2016.

Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share with 2,242,984 tons crushed, but that’s down 1.6% from the previous year. Meanwhile, the white varieties, which totaled 1,764,154 tons, were up 0.7% over 2016. Raisins and table grapes made up the rest.

The average prices for all varieties was $775.09 per ton, up 1.5% from last year. Red wine grapes saw a spike of 4.6% to $961.76 a ton, the highest average price since 2009. But white wine grapes did not fare quite as well. The average price for white grapes was $586.73 a ton, down 2% from last year.

Chardonnay continued to account for the largest percentage of total crush volume with 14.5%. Cabernet Sauvignon was right behind at 14.2%, according to the report.

Napa’s grapes were the most expensive. Its highest average price of $5,204.98 per ton and that was up 11.0% from 2016. Sonoma and Marin counties shared second place, with each getting the highest return of $2,803.52. This is up 8.2% from 2016, the report said.

The 2017 Chardonnay price of $921.77 was up 4.0% from 2016, and the Cabernet Sauvignon price of $1,547.94 was up 5.3% from 2016. The 2017 average price for Zinfandel was $589.82, down 2.4% from 2016. Prices are through January 10, the USDA said.

Ciatti Global Wine & Grape Brokers noted California “recorded its second lightest Zinfandel crop in recent years, down 13% overall to a total of 364,188 tons. Although 90% of the total production comes from the interior regions, almost all areas saw a decrease in tons.”

If the law of supply and demand still holds, then there is likely to be a slight rise in prices for red tables wines from California’s 2017 vintage.

The Final Grape Crush Report will be published on March 9.

Published on February 12, 2018
Topics: Latest News

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