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Napa County's wine grape industry has seen a decline in production since 2018, but growers have been successful in demanding high prices for their grapes, with the gross values of Napa County's wine grapes nearly doubling in 2022, reaching an impressive $890 million.

At a glance

Napa County's Wine Grape Industry: Challenges and Triumphs Amid Declining Tonnage

Grape Tonnage Decline in Napa County

Since 2018, the wine grape industry of Napa County has seen declining grape production.

Red wine grape production dropped by more than 33,000 tons, while white wine grape production fell by nearly 20,000 tons.

Regardless, California continued crushing a substantial amount of grapes, with 4.5 million tons in 2018—providing support to the state's wine grape industry.

Despite the reduced numbers in 2018, the California Department of Food and Agriculture reported a drastic drop to 3.6 million tons in the following year.

Although the yields were lower, Napa County's wine grape industry still managed to achieve record-high values for its grapes.

Record-high Wine Grape Values

The gross values of Napa County's wine grapes nearly doubled in 2022, reaching an impressive $890 million.

Growers have been successful in demanding high prices for their grapes, with the average price of red wine grapes at just over $7,700 per ton.

Cabernet Franc grapes experienced the highest price increase, at almost 12% from the previous year, reaching over $10,400 per ton.

In contrast, White Riesling grapes saw a more substantial increase of over 32%, valuing at more than $4,900 per ton.

Napa County's Agricultural Output and Wine Grape Acreage

Nearly 99% of Napa County's $894.3 million gross agricultural output comes from its vineyards.

Total wine grape acreage in Napa remains stable, with red varieties experiencing a 9% increase and white varieties a 6% increase compared to the previous year.

Varietal Popularity and Production

Cabernet Sauvignon remains the most popular grape variety planted in Napa, with over 24,000 bearing acres in production.

Merlot and Pinot Noir follow closely behind in popularity.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc led white grape varieties in acreage last year.

Chardonnay grapes had over 16,000 tons produced across nearly 5,900 bearing acres, with an average price increase of 9% to $3,555 per ton.

Sauvignon Blanc production exceeded 9,200 tons across 2,700 acres, with prices increasing by 11% to $2,930 per ton.

Success Story: Violet Vines in the Willamette Valley, Oregon

In Willamette Valley, Oregon, Brian Zawada and his wife moved from Northeast Ohio to start Violet Vines.

Their 88-acre property produces eleven different organic wine varieties.

They recently expanded their winery, adding 12 acres to their vineyards and property to grow Viognier, Chardonnay, and other grape varietals on the Oregon side.

The couple also opened a new tasting room in Carlton, which is an hour southwest of Portland.

Although the area has seen a growing diversity in wine grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay remain the most popular.

Chardonnay Boom and its Impact on Ohio

Chardonnay's light, crisp, and lively taste has been increasingly popular, particularly among Ohioans, who are actively seeking out Violet Vines' products.

Wine enthusiasts can explore different online retailers and subscription clubs like Bright Cellars and Cellars Wine Club to find curated cases or discounts on wine.

For those interested in the business side of the industry, the Financial Times offers trial access to both Standard and Premium Digital packages.

Customers have options to change or downgrade during the trial for cost savings or to save an additional 20% by paying annually at the end of the trial.


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