The Preliminary California Grape Crush Report shows the 2012 Winegrape crop reached an all-time high of 4.014 M Tons, which was surprising given the limited amount of new planting in the state. This production was needed given the shorter crops from the previous two years and the growing consumer demand for case goods. This will provide supply to wineries and bring the overall market back into balance as we enter 2013.
The state 2012 Pinot Noir crop size reached it’s highest yet of 247,000 tons up 45% overall from 2011. Monterey and Sonoma county Pinot Noir crops were up over 85% vs last year. We experienced yields per ton on Pinot Noir in many areas that were not thought possible.
Quality for 2012 should be outstanding, with winemakers with many years of experience saying this is the best quality year they have ever seen.
This large California crop was driven by historically high yields in the Central Coast, Napa, Sonoma, and Lodi. The Central Valley was up but just slightly over last year.
The Cabernet crop in California was the largest since the historical 2005 crop. Demand continues to remain strong and we will see more new planting over the next few years. The 495,622 tons harvested was needed for growing case good sales.
Bulk wine imports, which grew to approx. 40 M equivalent cases in 2012, will continue to effect the demand for California grapes in the future. This large increase in imports has been partly due to the recent grape price increases.
The grape and wine market, with the healthy 2012 crop, have moved into a balanced position and wineries and growers should be able to see mutual profitability. The larger crop and inventories should push the bulk wine market pricing down from the highs of last year, but may have less of an effect on grape pricing. However much of these pricing changes will depend on case sales growth over the next year.
Consumers should see more availability of California wine in the market place and the larger crops of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay state wide should help to keep prices stable.
2012 Grape Pricing increased by upwards of 20% in many areas of the state. Multiple buyers where caught needing supply and drove the rise in pricing in these areas. Wineries are now trying to decide if they will pass these costs of goods increases to the consumer or adjust their margins.