The 2006 California grape crush totaled 3.5 million tons.88,988 tons, down 19 percent from the record 2005 crush of 4.3 million tons.

However, the average grape price was up only $15 per ton than the year before.

The ’06 crush was the sixth largest in the past decade.

Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed, at 1.9 million tons, down 16 percent from 2005.

The 2006 white wine variety crush totaled 1.3 million tons, down 17 percent from ‘05. Tons crushed of raisin type varieties totaled 267,021, down 43 percent from the year before, while tons crushed of table type varieties totaled 85,533, down 19 percent from 2005.

Since 1999 season, the USDA-NASS California Field Office grape crush report has included the total number of tons crushed for concentrate production. For last season season, this total was 463,203 tons, approximately 13 percent of the 2006 grape crush total.

California grape grower prices last season 2006 for raisin grapes and white wine grapes that were, on average, below the 2005 prices, while the prices received for table grapes and red wine grapes were above the 2005 prices. The 2006 average price of all varieties was $548, up 3 percent from ‘05. Average prices for the 2006 crop by type were as follows: red wine grapes, $636.55, up only slightly from 2005; white wine grapes, $503.56, down 1 percent from 2005; raisin grapes, $153.79, down 6 percent; and table grapes, $137.17, up 13 percent. These price levels have not been adjusted for inflation.

Chardonnay accounted for the largest percentage of crush volume in ’06 with 15.7 percent. Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for the second leading percentage of crush with 12.1 percent of the total crush. The next eight highest percentages of grapes crushed were all wine varieties, with the exception of Thompson seedless.

Grapes produced in District 4 (Napa County) received the highest average price of $3,042.71 per ton, up 2 percent from 2005. District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) received the second highest return of $1,990.74, up 6 percent from 2005. The 2006 Chardonnay price of $752.87 was up 5 percent from 2005, while the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon price of $954.52 was up 2 percent from 2005. The 2006 average price for Zinfandel was $509.65, up 8 percent from 2005, while the Merlot average price was down 9 percent from last season at $664.07.

email: hcline@farmpress.com