The 2014 profitability outlook for California wine grape growers is mostly bullish. Some producers could largely dodge the water bullet this year despite the state’s extreme drought.

 “The future looks bright for California- and American-grown grapes and wine made from those grapes,” says California wine grape grower advocate Nat DiBuduo, president and chief executive officer of the non-profit Allied Grape Growers (AGG) grape grower marketing cooperative based in Fresno.

DiBuduo discussed the short-term future of California wine grapes during the signature “State of the Industry” session at the 20th annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, Calif. The late January event drew a record 14,000 people from 31 countries across the Western Hemisphere.

“The opportunity for grower and winery profitability should stay with us,” DiBuduo said. “We should have profitable farming conditions for wine grapes outside of the drought.”

AGG markets wine grapes for about 600 California growers across the state.

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DiBuduo stopped far short from undermining the seriousness of California’s drought on the grape industry.

DiBuduo asked, “What is the top issue facing the grape industry?” His answer – “I think its water, and its water, and its water. (Grape) growers are practicing water conservation to the best of their ability.”

DiBuduo also painted a profitable picture for California wineries. The wine grape supply is in balance with grape demand.

“The answer is yes – we are in balance,” DiBuduo believes. “There is no shortage of wine or wine grapes at this point in time….A balanced supply is key to achieve profitability” for grape growers and wineries.