Lake County 2013 Winegrape Harvest Record Figures Buck the State Trend

Kelseyville, Calif. – Lake County’s viticultural region experienced the greatest increase in harvested winegrapes in California last year when statewide totals showed another year of record harvested tons for grapes, according to the 2013 California Grape Crush Report recently released by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Lake County’s harvest numbers were up 25.3 percent to 43,619 total winegrape tons for 2013, according to the CDFA report, nearly 9,000 tons more than the harvested amount for 2012 (34,816 tons reported). In comparison, the statewide winegrape harvest totaled 4.245 million tons, up 5.6 percent from 2012’s 4.018 million tons. Despite the state’s record harvest amounts, the statewide average price per ton across all varieties decreased from 2012.

By contrast, Lake County’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, the county’s two largest varietal crops, enjoyed healthy price per ton increases, the CDFA numbers indicate. In fact, four of the region’s top six most widely planted varieties increased in price per ton, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Petite Sirah and Merlot.

“For Lake County, 2013 was really a strong year,” said Lake County Winegrape Commission Chair Peter Molnar. “The region continued to attract high-quality wine programs with Lake County fruit being used by top quality wineries. We are seeing many of those wineries use Lake County winegrapes in their North Coast programs.”

The average prices for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc were up by approximately 6 percent each over the previous year. Nearly 20 percent of the Lake’s Cabernet Sauvignon sold at nearly $2,000 a ton. The weighted average price per ton was slightly more than $1,700, with growers receiving from $660 up to $3,100 per ton. “That is comparable to Sonoma County prices,” Molnar said. Lake’s Cabernet Sauvignon garners the third highest average price per ton in the state. The varietal accounts for more than 30 percent of the region’s winegrapes.

Concurrently, Molnar said, the amount of Lake’s fruit selling at lower prices has been reduced. The Crush Report indicated a weighted average price of $1,058 per ton for Sauvignon Blanc with prices to growers ranging from $350 per ton to $1,600 per ton.

Statewide figures indicate an overall drop in winegrape prices across the state of about 3.4 percent from $779 per ton to $760 per ton in 2013. The average price for red winegrapes statewide was down 4 percent from 2012 and for white winegrapes decreased by less than 1 percent.

Lake’s white grapes accounted for more than 18,000 tons last year while red grapes crushed accounted for more than 25,000. The average price for the region’s reds increased slightly from $1,556 per ton in 2012 to $1,628 per ton last year; and whites’ average price also grew, from $1,052 per ton to $1,088 per ton. Average price for both red and white for 2013 was up from $1,395 to $1,407, nearly twice as much as the state’s average for all winegrapes ($760 per ton).

“These numbers indicate a stellar 2013 harvest for Lake County’s winegrowers,” said Lake County Winegrape Commission President Debra Sommerfield. “Lake County growers continue to employ quality viticultural practices, while winemakers, grower relations representatives, and other grape buyers recognize the quality and character that Lake’s fruit brings to their wine programs.”

For additional information about Lake County’s winegrape production, visit the Lake County Winegrape Commission web site, www.lakecountywinegrape.org. The web site contains detailed information about the area’s growing regions, grapes for sale, vineyard maps, upcoming events, and average prices paid for Lake County winegrape varietals for the last five years.

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