The 2018 California crush report was released today, and as expected the report reveals a bountiful 2018 winegrape harvest up 6.6% in volume from 4,016 thousand tons in 2017 to 4,282 in 2018. The majority of the growth came from red varieties which increased 8.8% to 2,448 thousand tons, while white varieties increased 3.9% to 1,834 thousand tons in 2018.
However, the growth was not evenly distributed with District 3, Sonoma and Marin counties, increasing their yield by a whopping 33.9% to 275,976.9 tons in 2018 and Napa similarly 29.6% to 184,573.0 tons. While volumes in northern regions 2 and 9, as well as southern regions 13, 14, 15, and 16 all declined.
The average price per ton also increased by 6.9% from $800 per ton to $855, with white grapes increasing in value 8% to an average of $635 per ton and red grapes 5.5% to $1,019 per ton. Napa winegrapes continue to outpace the competition with the highest average price at $5,571.44 per ton, up 6.6 percent from 2017, with District 3 garnering the second highest average price of $2,817.92 per ton, but only up 0.3 percent from 2017.
The most popular grape varieties grown in California remain Chardonnay (15.8%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15.1%). In fact, they increased their share significantly from 2017 when they stood at 14.5% and 14.1% share respectively. Zinfandel held stable at 8.6%, while Pinot Noir increased its share from 6.2% to 7.0% surpassing French Colombard to become the fourth highest volume grape variety.
However, the Pinot Noir average price declined 0.9 percent from 2017 to $1,674.62 per ton. While Zinfandel prices were up 1.5% to $600.21 per ton, Chardonnay price increased 5.1% to $970.76, and Cabernet Sauvignon prices grew 8.3% to $1,683.25 surpassing Pinot Noir as the highest priced major variety.
The full report is available on the USDA website.
By Kim Badenfort