California’s 2009 grape crush totaled 4,089,160 tons, up 11 percent from 3,673,858 tons in 2008, and was the second largest on record, according to a preliminary report from the Sacramento Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The 2009 crush is 6 percent less than the record-large 2005 harvest of 4,330,064 tons.

Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed, at 2,073,703 tons, up 24 percent from 2008.

The 2009 white wine variety crush totaled 1,623,190 tons, up 21 percent from 2008.

Tons crushed of raisin-type varieties totaled 307,360, down 38 percent from 2008, and tons crushed of table type varieties totaled 84,907, down 49 percent from 2008.

The 2009 average price of all varieties was $570.64, up 4 percent from 2008.

Average prices for the 2009 crop by type were: red wine grapes, $664.06, up less than 1 percent from 2008; white wine grapes, $534.65, down 1 percent from 2008; raisin grapes, $171.02, down 24 percent; and table grapes, $143.10, down 21 percent. These price levels have not been adjusted for inflation.

The large increase in higher-priced wine grapes crushed, coupled with the decline in less expensive raisin and table grape varieties crushed, results in the average price increase from 2008, NASS reported.

In 2009, Chardonnay accounted for the largest percentage of the total crush volume with 17.8 percent. Zinfandel accounted for the second leading percentage of crush with 10.9 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 $3,400.85 per ton, down less than 1 percent from 2008. District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) received the second highest return of $2,180.28, down 3 percent from 2008.

The 2009 Chardonnay price of $756.12 was down 7 percent from 2008, and the Cabernet Sauvignon price of $1,068.23 was down 4 percent from 2008.

The 2008 average price for Zinfandel was $457.11, down 1 percent from 2008, while the Merlot average price was down 4 percent from 2008 at $624.25 per ton.

This preliminary report includes all grape tonnage crushed during the 2009 season, plus purchased tonnage and pricing information with final prices prior to Jan. 10, 2010.

The Final Grape Crush Report will be available March 10.

The entire Grape Crush Report is available online at www.nass.usda.gov/ca.