What Did The California Grape Crush Report Tell Us About 2020?

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Preliminary Grape Crush Report for 2020 was released today, revealing the lightest California wine crop since 2011 following a warm growing season and smoke from wildfires that ravaged the state last year.

The 132-page report summarizes the supply of the wine and grape industry, containing tons crushed and prices of wine grapes sold during the 2020 harvest.

The report detailed a statewide wine grape crop of 3.404 million tons for 2020, down about 88 million gallons from 2019.

“The crop was light due, in part, to lower yields per acre as a result of a warm growing season and grapes left on the vine over concerns of  exposure to smoke.,” said Steve Fredricks, President of The Turrentine Brokerage, which advises growers, wineries, and financiers and specializes in the strategic sourcing of wine grapes and bulk wine, in a report published Wednesday by his firm.

“The crop decreases mostly affected by smoke were Sonoma County Pinot Noir,  Monterey County Pinot Noir, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon.”

The lighter crop was not a completely negative development, nor does it foretell a similar fate for this year’s crop, Fredricks said.

“The short crop helped to balance out some of the excesses in coastal bulk wine that had built up over previous years from new bearing acres, slower sales growth, and larger than average yields per acre,” Fredericks explained. “The spot market for grapes and bulk wine became more active during harvest last year and there is continued market activity early in 2021.”  

The Crush Report provides growers and wineries insight into the inventory position for the California wine business as a whole, and influences  market dynamics for the current bulk wine market as well as the upcoming 2021 harvest.

The Turrentine Brokerage summarized key findings from the report by region and by grape:

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