Home Industry News Releases 2022 Mendocino Grape Crush Report

2022 Mendocino Grape Crush Report

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February 13th – A successful year for Mendocino County wine grape production. After two years of challenges, Mendocino County came out ahead. The 2022 USDA Preliminary Grape Crush Report confirms wine grape tonnage from the Mendocino County region was up 31.1% at 61,479 tons compared to the 2021 total of 46,909 tons. The total tonnage of wine grapes crushed in all of California was down 6.7% at 3.62M tons compared to the 2021 total of 3.88M tons.

Chardonnay remains the dominant variety grown in Mendocino County, accounting for 38% of the fruit harvested in 2022. Chardonnay even experienced a 30% increase in tonnage to 20,808 tons. Cabernet Sauvignon, experiencing an even larger increase in tonnage of 50%, brought in a hefty total of 13,791 tons in 2022, 16% over the 5-year average. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up for 22.4% of total crop production in Mendocino County. Pinot Noir, Mendocino’s third largest crop, with a 2% increase in 2022, produced 7,640 tons, making up for 12.4% of the total crop production. Zinfandel (6.8%), Merlot (5.5%), Sauvignon Blanc (5%), and Syrah (2.6%) are also commonly planted varieties in Mendocino County. Zac Robinson, family owner of Husch Vineyards, shared that he was “thrilled to see a healthy Pinot Noir crop after two years of disappointment”.

The value of the Mendocino County wine grape crop has returned to a higher bracket in 2022 with a reported $108.5M in raw value, an approximate 29% increase from 2021. This value is accurately reflected by the increase of grape tonnage in 2022. Wine grapes returned to Mendocino County’s leading agricultural commodity in 2021.

The total average price for wine grapes in Mendocino County remains stable yet is still 5% higher than the 5-year average. Majority of the varieties saw positive remarks, Cabernet Sauvignon saw a 2% increase in price at $2,011/ton, while both Chardonnay ($1,359/ton) and Sauvignon Blanc ($1,486/ton) saw a 4% increase. Leading Mendocino County in average price and with a 9% growth, Pinot Noir continues to be the most valuable grape variety, with an average price of $3,366/ton.

The 2022 harvest season delivered abnormal environmental challenges for Mendocino County grape growers, winemakers, and brokers. Fortunately, there were no significant fire or smoke incidents for the second year in a row, however September saw an average of 2.32” of precipitation and a high temperature average of 89°F, according to the climate report from USAFacts.org. Undoubtedly, Mendocino County triumphed. The 2022 crop was projected to have a light yield due to the continued California drought, however that was not the case. “With the average rainfall nearly doubling in 2021, many growers were able to capitalize, and provide their vineyards with valuable irrigation during the dry season, leading to a more sustainable yield” reports Lorenzo Pacini, Pacini Vineyards.

Due to the low tonnage pressure the past two years, and Mendocino County brand awareness the 2022 marketplace was exceedingly active with fruit selling at a more rapid pace than ever before. A continued growth in Mendocino County tonnage and prices are expected in 2023, especially after the extensive rainstorms received in January 2023. Mendocino County is well situated to provide value and quality in this competitive market, as demand for the region’s main varieties Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, remains strong. Further, Mendocino Pinot Noir is highly sought after for premium and high-end brands. Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot are varieties especially attractive for the red blends that continue to grow in popularity.

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