California grape crush, wine exports set records
SACRAMENTO — California’s grape crush set a record in 2013, as the nearly 4.7 million tons produced topped the previous high of nearly 4.4 million tons in 2012, according to a government report.
Red wine varieties accounted for the most grapes crushed last year at a little more than 2.4 million tons, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service office here.
The white wine crush in 2013 topped 1.8 million tons, up 6 percent from 2012, according to the agency. The crush of raisin and table-type varieties rose significantly last year, totaling 327,790 tons and 126,736 tons, respectively.
The crush produced a wine crop that set export records last year, according to the San Francisco-based Wine Institute. U.S. wine exports, 90 percent of which were from California, generated $1.55 billion in winery revenues in 2013, up 16.4 percent from the previous year.
“Consumers across the globe continue to recognize the quality, diversity and value of California wines despite significant trade barriers and heavily subsidized foreign competitors,” Wine Institute president and CEO Robert P. Koch said in a statement.
Koch noted that California exports one-fifth of its wine and is on track to reach $2 billion in exports by 2020.
“Our outstanding 2012 and 2013 California vintages, heralded for quality as well as quantity, were a record high so we have the ability to expand,” he said.
According to the NASS report, Chardonnay accounted for the largest percentage of the total crush volume last year at 16.1 percent, with Cabernet Sauvignon coming in second at 11.2 percent.
The San Joaquin Valley and its adjoining foothills produced the most volume among more than a dozen regions analyzed at nearly 1.6 million tons, while Napa County grapes received the highest average price of $3,683.89 per ton, up 3 percent from 2012, the agency reported.
The 2013 Chardonnay price of $867.70 per ton was up 2 percent from 2012, and the Cabernet Sauvignon price of $1,339.72 was down 3 percent from 2012, according to NASS. Prices for Merlot and Zinfandel were down 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, averaging $652.12 and $753.69, NASS reported.
NASS Grape Crush Report: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/California/index.asp
Wine Institute: http://www.wineinstitute.org