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Survey Says – 2018 Harvest Was Abundant – Grape Prices

The numbers are in and they tell a story of abundance.  The 2018 wine grape harvest in Sonoma and Napa Counties was bountiful by any standard and the quality is equally outstanding.  Each year we provide a breakdown of the current weighted average wine grape prices for popular varietals in Sonoma and Napa.

 

2018 wine grave harvest blog

 

This year we see a general continuation of an upward trend in pricing with a couple exceptions including Pinot Noir, and Syrah in Sonoma County.  While these drops are relatively mild they do point to a change in the overall market. 2018 produced a surplus of wine grapes and now the market has to literally absorb the excess and adjust.  At this stage it is hard to say what this means for a longer term trend.  It will likely depend on how the 2019 harvest shakes out.

The data below comes from the Annual Grape Crush Report prepared by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Here is the catch, and something to be aware of during periods of excess fruit, the grape crush report only includes wine grape prices for wine grapes under contract.  The grape crush report does not consider wine grapes that are sold under an old fashion “hand shake” agreement, wine grape tonnages that were in excess of contracted amounts and were not sold, or end of season sales to move wine grapes that were not under contract.  In other words, when there is excess fruit the grape crush report doesn’t always give a precise reading of the market.  To be clear, it would be very difficult to track non contracted wine grape sales / non sales.  That said, the grape crush report is a valuable and integral part of determining baseline market rates throughout California.

Weighted Average Prices For Wine Grapes in Napa & Sonoma Counties

County AveragePrice Per Ton     
Napa County
2018Trend201720162018 High2018 Low
Cabernet Sauvignon$7,925+$7,509$6,829$50,000$150
Pinot Noir$2,707-$2,798$2,779$7,200$500
Merlot$3,760+$3,387$3,352$30,625$306
Zinfandel$4,013+$3,623$3,520$7,600$350
Syrah$3,956+$3,738$3,591$8,055$1,750
Chardonnay$2,917+$2,809$2,673$8,500$450
Sauvignon Blanc$2,423+$2,279$2,142$7,429$479
Sonoma County
2018Trend201720162018 High2018 Low
Cabernet Sauvignon$3,114+$3,073$2,966$17,666$500
Pinot Noir$3,802-$3,908$3,678$17,600$350
Merlot$1,962+$1,918$1,815$17,666$400
Zinfandel$3,102+$3,005$2,840$10,017$100
Syrah$2,774-$2,778$2,596$6,000$475
Chardonnay$2,367+$2,335$2,163$13,057$275
Sauvignon Blanc$1,793+$1,736$1,687$4,600$432

 

More 2018 highlights:

  • In Napa County the overall average wine grape price increased by 6% from 2017 to $5,571 / ton.
  • The 2018 Napa County harvest totaled 184,573 tons of wine grapes and an estimated value of $1.28 billion. This is up from 2017 with a harvest of 142,414 tons and a value of $736 million.
  • The Sonoma County average wine grape price in 2018 was $2,818 per ton.
  • 2018 Chardonnay production in Sonoma County was 88,312 tons, up 45% from the previous year.
  • The North Coast region (Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino & Lake Counties) crushed a total of 588,864 tons in 2018, up nearly 26% from 2017.
  • The state of California had a harvest of 4,506,583 tons in 2018 copared to 4,241,945 tons crushed in 2017, a 6 percent increase.

The bottom line is that there will be more excellent quality wine for all to enjoy.

Cheers!

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