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CAWG Statement on 2012 California Crush

Submitted By: Lewis Perdue, February 11, 2013
California’s Grape Crush Sets New Record
Final grape crush beats 2005 record by 1 percent

Sacramento, Calif. – The estimates and predictions for a record California winegrape crop were confirmed with the release today of the 2012 Preliminary Grape Crush Report by the California Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). According to the report’s summary, the 2012 grape crush totaled a record high 4,383,100 tons, up 13 percent from the 2011 crush of 3,874,158 tons, and is 1 percent larger than the previous record high crush set in 2005.

The total 2012 crush includes winegrapes, table type grapes (99,111 tons) and raisin type grapes (270,085 tons). The actual winegrape tonnage crushed was 4,013,903. Based on the average per ton price of winegrapes, the value of the 2012 winegrape crop is up 45 percent over 2011.

“The 2012 crop delivered an economic boon for California. Average record high winegrape prices combined with the largest ever winegrape crop, means the 2012 harvest was worth $950 million more than the prior year,” said John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG). “As a result, growers will shore up their finances and invest in their businesses, which means more income and economic activity in the many communities where winegrape production is strongest.”

Red wine varieties had the largest share of all grapes crushed with 2,289,783 tons, up 19 percent from 2011. The white wine variety crush was up 21 percent from last year and totaled 1,724,121.

Prices also set record highs in 2012 with the average price of all varieties reaching $734.35, up 24 percent from 2011. The average price for the 2012 crop of red wine grapes came in at $879.04, up 24 percent from last year. The 2012 white winegrape crop average price hit $623.50, up 15 percent from 2011.

Chardonnay accounted for the largest percentage of the total crush volume in 2012 with 16.8 percent. In second place was Cabernet Sauvignon with 11.3 percent of the total crush. The next eight highest percentages of grapes crushed included wine and raisin grape varieties.

As was seen in 2011, the largest share of the State’s crush at 1,462,108 tons was in District 13 (Madera, Fresno, Alpine, Mono, Inyo Counties; and Kings and Tulare Counties north of Nevada Avenue (Avenue 192)). The average price per ton in District 13 was $369.40.

In other winegrape growing regions of California District 4 (Napa County) received the highest average price of $3,578.79 per ton, up 5 percent from 2011. District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) received the second highest return of $2,181.88, up 5 percent from 2011. The 2012 Chardonnay price of $846.40 was up 12 percent from 2011, and the Cabernet Sauvignon price of $1,376.14 was up 19 percent from 2011. The 2012 average price for Zinfandel was $712.85, up 27 percent from 2011, while the Merlot average price was up 15 percent from 2011 at $800.77 per ton.

The March 8, 2013 Final Grape Crush Report will contain any late reports or corrections to the preliminary report. Winegrape growers are being asked to notify NASS by February 15, 2013, with any corrections for the Final Grape Crush Report.