If you are a grape grower or wine producer, then you are probably familiar with the California Grape Crush Report that is published each year. Typically, in early February the preliminary results are provided, followed by a final version in March. This is a valuable resource to the entire wine and grape industry compiled by the compiled by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. We thank them for the work they do and the valuable information it provides to those who rely on their reports to make informed decisions about their business.
These reports provide key data on tonnage of grapes crushed, grape prices, and brix levels (i.e. grape sweetness aka alcohol potential), which are broken down by grape varietal, geographic location (crush district), and intended use (i.e. wine, concentrate, table, etc.).
The chart below shows the historical crush tonnage between 2008 and 2017.
As you can see, overall tonnage was trending up to a peak in 2013, and then has declined over the following four years, no doubt partially impacted by California’s extended drought.
The pie graph below shows the breakdown by grape varietal. The largest single varietal is Chardonnay at 14.5% of the total 2017 crush volume, with Cabernet Sauvignon closely behind at 14.2%.
Finally, the last chart shows grape prices by grape type (red, white, raisin, table, all) between 2008 and 2017.
Interestingly, while all of the other grape types have been relatively flat, red grape prices have been trending higher, also causing the overall average of all grape prices to rise, although at a slower pace than red prices. This probably partially explains why the previous chart shows an increasing percentage of the total grape crush volume is red wine varietals.
One thing that is not depicted graphically is the average grape cost by crush district. Not surprisingly Napa County (District 4) had the highest average price of $5,204.98 per ton, followed by District 3 (Sonoma & Marin) with an average price of $2,803.52 per ton.
One thing that is probably obvious… there is a lot of information in this report. If you’d like to do your own digging around, it can be found HERE or by searching for the “California Crush Report” each year.
On a final note, if you are a grape grower or winemaker trying to figure out how much to sell your grapes should cost, consider looking at Table 8 in this report, which will provide you the specific range of prices that growers in your region have been selling their grapes for, by tonnage and brix level.
Have fun digging through the numbers!