Home Industry News Releases Preliminary 2021 Winegrape Crush Report Is 3.613 Million Tons

Preliminary 2021 Winegrape Crush Report Is 3.613 Million Tons

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Turrentine Brokerage logoNovato, CA – The California Department of Food and Agriculture Preliminary Grape Crush Report for 2021 has been released. It is a summary for the supply of the wine and grape industry, containing tons crushed and prices of wine grapes sold during the 2021 harvest. The Crush Report provides growers and wineries insight into the inventory position for the California wine business as a whole, and influences market dynamics for the current bulk wine market as well as the upcoming 2022 harvest.

Key Insights by Region

  Tons Crushed 2021 Tons Crushed 2020 Net Gain/Loss Equivalent Gallons % Chg 2021 %Δ to 5Y Avg
North Coast 424,648 364,380 60,268 9,944,000 17% -15%
Central Coast 549,111 403,959 145,152 23,950,000 36% 9%
Northern Interior 987,540 858,767 128,773 21,247,000 15% 5%
Southern Interior 1,578,463 1,704,384 -125,921 -20,777,000 -7% -16%
  Tons Crushed 2021 Tons Crushed 2020 Net Gain/Loss Equivalent Gallons % Chg 2021 %Δ to 5Y Avg
Chardonnay 616,536 539,321 77,215 12,741,000 14% -3%
Cabernet Sauvignon 590,249 499,409 90,840 14,989,000 18% 1%
Pinot Noir 273,728 212,590 61,138 10,088,000 29% 4%
Merlot 185,339* 167,409 17,930 2,958,000 11% -21%
Zinfandel 291,524 300,420 -8,896 -1,468,000 -3% -20%
Pinot Grigio 213,923 218,360 -4,438 -732,000 -2% -14%
Sauvignon Blanc 131,167 125,666 5,502 908,000 4% 13%

General/Statewide

2021 is the second consecutive lighter than average crop. In many cases, crop size was above last year but below the five-year average. The activity for various bulk wine and grapes indicates that the volume some wineries received is also less than they needed, but some wineries still received more than needed.  Based on our historical observations, the market for grapes and bulk wine has already been impacted by the 2021 harvest.  The current market is likely to stay consistent until more information, like 2022 crop projections and ongoing feedback regarding consumer sales, is known.

-Steve Fredricks, President

“2021 USDA crush report reveals California’s wine grape varietal pricing and tonnage by Districts. One important occurrence to keep in mind is the unnatural change of market dynamics that occurred between 2020 and 2021. In 2019, the markets were moving in a predicted direction; from a Seller’s market to a Buyer’s market for grapes and bulk wine. However in 2020, the effects of Covid restrictions and below expected crop levels caused the market to abruptly shift back into a Seller’s market. This caught the California wine industry by surprise with many Buyers scrambling for grapes and bulk wine in short supply and prices increased as a result.”

-Brian Clements, Vice President

“As expected, the 2021 wine grape crop in California was down from the five-year average again due to statewide drought and/or other viticultural related conditions. This continued an overall market shift that was faster than expected back in 2019, but the 2021 crop size did not come as a surprise. In mid-2021, we observed and commented on several indicators of the smaller crop; primarily that grape buyers continued to buy and prices continued to rise later in the year. Good news for growers and wineries is that the oversupply of bulk wine from 2018 and 2019 is now behind us and grape and bulk wine prices have improved.”

-Steve Fredricks, President

“The crush report is a great tool, but it is a look into the rearview mirror. Our 2022 wine grape market is off to a great start with re-sign activity as well as wineries taking a look at new grape purchase potentials.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“Every major variety, except for ZInfandel and Pinot Grigio, were above the light 2020 statewide crop by variety.  In some cases such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon they were up double digit percentages, 14% and 18% respectively.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“A drought year, removals, and weather played a factor in the overall crop being down 310,000 tons from the five-year average of 3.92 million tons, but I should also point out that weather was less of a factor in 2021 as it was in 2020 with the extreme heat and fires allowing for better yields than 2020, in many, but not all, cases.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“As expected, district average prices for all major varieties continued their rise with the 2021 Crush Report coupled with an increase in tons coming off of the light 2020 crop. A good example–the Pinot Noir weighted average price per ton was $1,618 statewide in 2021, as compared to $1,283 in 2020.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“The bulk wine market was already reflecting much of the information in the Crush Report and the variable nature of the harvest. The supply of bulk Sauvignon Blanc from all North Coast regions was at a historic low well before the lightest Sauvignon Blanc crop in many years in those regions was realized.

-Marc Cuneo, Bulk Wine Broker

North Coast

“In regard to the North Coast, the 2021 Crush Report reflects the overall strengthening of the wine grape market mostly due to the difficulty of sales projections during Covid restrictions, below expected crop yields, and the lack of available bulk wine inventories. Prices were up for nearly all North Coast wine grape varieties and that momentum has carried into the first quarter of 2022.” 

-Brian Clements, Vice President

“2021 proved to be a second consecutive light crop due to drought and/or other viticulture related conditions throughout the North Coast with the most dramatically reduced tonnages from Lake and Mendocino Counties, particularly for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc that were down 15% and 33% from the five-year average, respectively. As it became apparent the crop size was light last year, demand increased for available tons of Cabernet Sauvignon. While the crop fell short of expected size, quality has been well received.”

-Christian Klier, North Coast Grape Broker

“Overall, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon tons harvested were down 9% from the five-year average with vineyards farther south faring better than those to the north. There were a few small pockets that produced average, or even above average tonnages, but those were very infrequent and all had access to plenty of water.”

-Christian Klier, North Coast Grape Broker

“Pinot Noir was a roller coaster of crop sizes in Sonoma County. Many growers reported lower than average yields, yet the crop was up 8% compared to the five-year average. The increase in supply did not reduce district average price, which reached $3,484 in 2021, up $436 from 2020. Despite the price increase, demand for 2022 Pinot Noir grapes is very active.”

-Christian Klier, North Coast Grape Broker

Central Coast

“The overall 2021 Central Coast crop was 9% above the five-year average of 502,669 tons crushed.  Mother Nature often gives averages through extremes, but due to the massive crops of 2018 and 2019 and the very light 2020, it is becoming increasingly difficult to nail down exactly what an average crop is now, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“The weighted average price for all Central Coast grapes increased by 9%, lifting the value of the Central Coast wine grape crop to roughly $800,000,000, which was a 49% increase over 2020.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“Monterey County Chardonnay recorded an above average crop despite early reports of it being light; however, the 101,771 ton crop satisfied overall coastal Chardonnay demand. We continue to see this demand drive the 2022 wine grape market. Recent and current demand is reflected in the 2021 District 7 average price per ton and the spot market price per ton at roughly $1200/ton in 2021”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“It is important to note that the Monterey County Pinot Noir market is showing solid signs of market recovery, which is not reflected in the weighted district average price of $1637/ton, even though it was a 9% increase over 2020. The Turrentine Brokerage spot market recorded a 133% increase over 2020, which was more indicative of the market. This type of market rebound typically takes two years to be reflected in the crush report.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“There were two small surprises in the crush report. The first, District 8 Cabernet Sauvignon coming in at an additional 22% over the 2020 crop, which was roughly another 16,000 tons. Based on the demand continuing through the end of harvest last year, the additional tonnage was needed but also a surprise as many deliveries were below contracted volumes. The second surprise was District 7, Monterey County, Pinot Noir crop being recorded as the largest on record. Certainly, a larger Pinot Noir crop was no surprise as most vineyards experienced late and continued sizing during the season; however the largest on record was not expected.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

“The 2021 harvest of Pinot Noir in District 8, predominantly Santa Barbara County, equaled the largest historical crop coming in at 28,985 tons, up 6% from the previous year. The district average decreased to $2,058, a 11% drop. These numbers reflect more tonnage harvested due to a better than expected crop and the lack of smoke taint rejections.”

-Audra Cooper, Central Coast Grape Broker

Lodi & Interior

“Many varieties were affected by heat and drought conditions in 2021, but Chardonnay fared better than other white varieties. In the Lodi/Delta region, Chardonnay tons crushed were 8% above the five-year average while the southern interior Chardonnay crop was 9% below the five-year average, resulting in an average crop size throughout the interior.”

-Mike Needham, Interior Grape Broker

“In Lodi, Cabernet Sauvignon prices increased 7% to $679 per ton while in the southern interior, Districts 12 and 13, prices increased 11% and 10%, respectively. The increased prices per ton have not slowed the grape market in 2022 with the current lack of available inventory.”

-Mike Needham, Interior Grape Broker

“Due to the scarcity of white varietals available in 2021, we saw wineries look to alternative options for their white wine needs. There was an increase in Thompson’s Seedless by processors, up 241% from 2020 and up 85% from the five-year average. A greater quantity of Thompson’s Seedless that are typically intended for raisin grapes ended up being crushed for wine due to the lack of supply available from traditional white wine varieties in the south valley.”

-Mike Needham, Interior Grape Broker

“The Crush Report reflects an increase in overall tons crushed in 2021 from Lodi, up 14% from the previous year. Yields also fared better in the Delta in 2021, up 21% from 2020 and 19% from the five-year average. Despite the greater yields in 2021 in those areas, we have seen earlier than normal grape purchasing activity in 2022 in the valley.”

-Mike Needham, Interior Grape Broker

“The south valley regions surrounding Fresno and Bakersfield, Districts 13 and 14, had below average yields in 2021 due to heat waves and drought. In addition, removals lowered total tons from the south valley 9% in 2021 from the below average 2020 crop.”

-Mike Needham, Interior Grape Broker

About Turrentine Brokerage

Turrentine Brokerage, founded in 1973, serves as trusted and strategic advisors to growers, wineries, and financiers and specializes in the strategic sourcing of wine grapes and bulk wine from the major growing areas across the globe. Working with thousands of wineries worldwide, and with over 2,000 growers, this experienced team has negotiated transactions between buyers and sellers valued at more than $3 billion over the past decade.

Turrentine Brokerage is available to provide comment and analysis on this report and its probable impact on growers, wineries and consumers. Turrentine Brokerage will have its experienced team of grape and wine brokers and analysts available all-day Thursday, February 10th and throughout the following week for comments and questions.

 Contact

 Steve Fredricks  President  (415) 847-0603 Grapes and bulk wine throughout CA and global import/export
 Brian Clements  Vice President  (707) 495-8151 Grapes throughout California
 Audra Cooper  Grape Broker / Partner  (805) 400-9930 Grapes from Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
 Mike Needham  Grape Broker / Partner  (707) 849-4337 Grapes from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys
Christian Klier Grape Broker (707) 867-8212 Grapes from the Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties
Marc Cuneo Bulk Wine Broker / Partner (707) 217-1369 Bulk wine, domestic and international
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