2007 California Crush of Wine Type Grapes Up Three Percent
SAN FRANCISCO — California vintners crushed 3.24 million tons of winegrapes in 2007, up 3 percent from 2006's crush of 3.14 million winegrape tons, according to the Preliminary Grape Crush Report from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The total was as predicted from last fall's forecasts. The final report will be issued March 10, 2008.
Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed in 2007 at 1,868,187 tons, down slightly from 2006, while white wine varieties totaled 1,370,754 tons, up 9 percent from 2006. Average statewide price for all wine varieties was $563 per ton.
Chardonnay was again the leading grape crushed of the wine varieties at 589,260 tons, nearly one-fifth of the winegrape volume, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, 422,545 tons, down slightly; Zinfandel 406,825 tons, up 19 percent; French Colombard, 319,195 tons, up 11 percent; and Merlot 303,446 tons, down 9 percent.
The total harvest of wine, raisin and table type grapes was 3.67 million tons, nearly the same as the previous year. The full report is online.
After a mild winter with below normal rainfall coupled with a dry spring, California's 2007 winegrowing season began with an early bud break. Although cluster counts were high in most locations, a sparse berry set in spring resulted in loose grape bunches. Additionally, berries were small, creating a greater skin to juice ratio, conditions for enhancing the color and quality of the resulting wines.
After the large harvest in 2005 and normal yields in 2006 and 2007, industry experts say the moderate and high quality crop will result in supplies that will be in balance to meet the growing consumer demand for wine in the U.S. California's estimated 527,000 wine type acres in 2006 have increased 4 percent from 1998's 507,000 acres to help meet the American thirst for wine. Wine sales in the U.S. have grown each year for the last 14 consecutive years, reaching a record high of 314 million cases in 2007.