Earlier in the month, the NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) released the 2018 Grape Crush Report which is an impressive 164 pages of all kinds of geeky information. The bottom line is that California Crushed (processed) 4,506,583 tons of grapes in 2018! That is up 4.6% over 2017 which was also a bumper crop and so was 2016.

 

Now let me tell you, that is a lot of grapes. Last year, Koi Zen Cellars processed 53 tons of fruit which is only 0.00117% of last year’s total – talk about feeling small.

 

Red wine varietals accounted for the largest share of 1.8M tons up 3.8% from 2017. Raisin varietals fell 12.5% and were only 0.82M tons but table grapes were up, but only account for 142,391 tons of fruit. I guess people like wine better than raisins (I just can’t figure this one out LOL).

 

In 2018 the average price for all types of grapes was $831.61 which was up 6.8% from 2017 – the price of wine is going up.

 

Average prices for the 2018 crop by type were as follows: red wine grapes, $1,019.03, up 5.5% from 2017; white wine grapes, $634.84, up 8.0% from 2017; raisin grapes, $299.48, up 18.4%; and table grapes, $192.01, up 7.6%.

 

The most expensive place to buy wine grapes is…..

 

…..wait for it…….

 

Napa of course with an average price of $5,571 per ton – can we say $75 plus a bottle?

 

Sonoma is more modest at $2,818 per ton.

 

Napa Cab Sauvignon – the king of Cabs – averaged almost $8,000 a ton and produced over 50K tons. San Diego came in at an average price of $1,659 and produced 291 tons.

 

Now the question of the day is – Which grape varietal is the largest in tons and percentage?

 

Chardonnay at 15.8% with a close second of Cabernet Sauvignon at 15.1%

 

I know this is a lot of geeky information but it is important to realize that grapes are a commodity. The price is determined by supply and demand. The better the grape the more expensive it is. The better the grape, the better the wine. However, the quality is not the only thing that drives price – name brand also drives price. Napa is a well known wine region across the world – you are going to pay for that name branding – is the wine better? You decide.

 

I always say the best wine is the one you love.

 

Cheers,