Saturday, 12 June 2021

County's '06 crush news mixed

The preliminary 2006 California grape crush report is in. The document that guides pricing for wine grape growers and marks industry trends shows mixed news for Lake County growers.

 

Industry officials statewide are optimistic that the total delivered tonnage drop of more than 15 percent statewide indicates the wine grape glut has peaked — signaling a shift in supply and demand.

 

Statewide, Lake County's flagship varietals, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon both increased — blanc and rose for cabernet.

 

Although Lake County's grape prices look high when compared with the statewide averages, neighboring counties remain well ahead overall.

 

Lake County prices averaged $804.86 per ton for non-related purchases of sauvignon blanc in Lake County, well behind Napa's $1,731.60, Sonoma/Marin's $1,444.67 and Mendocino County's $962.41.

 

Cabernet sauvignon in Lake County fetched an average $1,574.72 per ton, less than half the $3,972.06 price the same grapes grown in Napa achieved and well behind Sonoma/Marin's $2,231.87, but just ahead of Mendocino's $1,288.22 per ton.

 

Shannon Gunier, executive director of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, commented that although she hasn't studied the document yet, Lake County's pricing has been edging up in comparison to its neighbors for several years as local premium quality becomes known throughout the industry.

 

"We have been steadily moving away in price the last three years," she said. According to the report, California’s 2006 crush totaled 3,479,933 tons, down 20 percent from the record 2005 crush of 4,330,064 tons.

 

Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed, at 1,867,247 tons. "Despite a 16 percent decline from 2005, the red wine crush was the second largest on record," the preliminary report stated.

 

The 2006 white wine variety crush totaled 1,260,132 tons, down 17 percent from 2005.

 

California grape growers received prices in 2006 for raisin grapes and white wine grapes that were, on average, below the 2005 prices, while the prices received for table grapes and red wine grapes were, on average, above the 2005 prices. The 2006 average price of all varieties, at $546.80, was up three percent from 2005 because of a larger portion of higher value grapes.

 

Average prices for the 2006 crop by type were as follows: red wine grapes, $634.31, up only slightly from 2005; white wine grapes, $502.83, down one percent from 2005; raisin grapes, $153.79, down six percent; and table grapes, $137.17, up 13 percent. These price levels, the report noted in a cover sheet, "have not been adjusted for inflation."

 

In 2006, Chardonnay accounted for the largest percentage of the total crush volume with 15.8 percent. Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for the second leading percentage of crush with 12.1 percent of the total crush. The next eight highest percentages of grapes crushed were all wine varieties, with the exception of Thompson Seedless.

 

Grapes produced in District 4 (Napa County) brought the highest average price of $3,050.73 per ton, up two percent from 2005. District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) received the second highest return of $1,987.29, up six percent from 2005.

 

The 2006 Chardonnay price of $751.80 was up five percent from 2005, and the Cabernet Sauvignon price of $953.44 was up two percent from 2005. The 2006 average price for Zinfandel was $508.13, up eight percent from 2005, while the Merlot average price was down nine percent from 2005, at $663.28 per ton.

 

This preliminary report includes all grape tonnage crushed during the 2006 season, as well as purchased tonnage and pricing information with final prices before January 10, 2007. The Final Grape Crush Report will be available March 9, 2007.Image

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