Allied Grape Growers recently released this harvest report
Based on early estimates, there’s a pretty strong consensus that the 2012 winegrape crop could be somewhere around 3.7 million tons. The State of California’s Ag Statistics Service has pegged it at that, and numerous industry analysts have also agreed. At Allied Grape Growers, we see no reason to argue at this point in the season, although it wouldn’t surprise us if it turned out to be larger than that. The 3.7 million ton estimate would mean that we are fully 10 percent above last year’s production. This should come as no surprise to anyone, as last year was viewed as a relatively light production year for most regions in the state.
A 3.7 million ton winegrape crop would also tie for the second biggest crop on record, just slightly behind the record smashing year of 2005. But even if we do hit 3.7 (or even 3.8) we believe the industry will take it in stride. After all, an average crop these days would be about 3.5 million tons, so what’s another couple hundred thousand tons in the big scheme of things? With wine shipments being stable and the feeling that we approached this harvest in a relatively short position, the extra supply should be a welcome sight, to both vintners and growers alike. If we end up brushing up against 4 million tons, then there could be some people pulling the supply fire alarm!
Our synopsis of the 2012 harvest so far, considering this is written the first week of September, is that the “early” winegrape varieties look above average in many parts of the coast as well as in Lodi and the central interior.
The Chardonnay crop in the central interior seemed to pick out mostly larger than last year, with a few exceptions. Chardonnay in Lodi is picking well above last year, with some growers approaching max tons on their contracts.
The Zinfandel crop (for blush wines) has picked out larger than last year in the central valley, and we anticipate the same variety for red production to also impress buyers and growers as compared to last year’s disastrously low yields, particularly in Lodi.
Our Pinot Grigio fields were both up and down, depending on the specific field, so we have not been able to draw any definitive conclusions about it so far.
As we move into the reds in the weeks to come, there is a general feeling that the crop is heavier in the coast and Lodi than last year, with specific emphasis put on the size of the Merlot and Zinfandel crops.
In the Central Valley, however, reds are just starting to be looked at for scheduling, and many of the sugars are impressively high already…which may point more toward an average crop than one that is heavy, struggling to get sugar.