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by Cyril Penn | August 13, 2014 | 2:08 PM

California’s wine type grape production is forecast at 3.9 million tons for 2014, down 8 percent from 2013, according to a report issued yesterday by the California Agricultural Statistics Service. That’s still a fairly big crop, however: If 3.9 million tons are crushed, 2014 will be California's third-largest ever wine-grape crop to date.

According to the report, the raisin crop is expected to be 1.95 million tons, down 13 percent from 2014, and table grape production is forecast at 1.20 million tons, down 2 percent.

CASS noted that bunch counts were reported to be down from last year’s counts and that hail during bloom negatively affected some vineyards.

The forecast is in line with Allied Grapegrowers’ earlier estimate of 3.8 to 4.0 million tons of wine-grapes in 2014, though Allied president Nat Dibuduo said he thinks the state’s forecast for Thomson grapes may be high – with the Thompson crop down by as much as 20 or even 25 percent.

The market for un-contracted grapes, meanwhile, is currently soft, according to industry sources. Dibuduo said the spot market has eased because of record harvests in 2012 and 2013. While there are currently few buyers for grapes in the San Joaquin Valley, sales of grapes are brisk along California’s north coast, however.

The softening of the spot market has been attributed to the large 2012 and 2013 harvests.

Drought is a factor in 2014 and could be an even bigger issue for wine grape production in 2015.

“I’m definitely concerned about next year’s crop if we have another dry year,” Dibuduo said.


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