California grape harvest is moving well, much better than last year.

Growers are reporting clear and warm harvest weather, good yields and the highest harvest time prices in decades.

The icing on the cake for one of the best growing seasons in several years for Jean-Pierre Wolff, proprietor of Wolff Vineyards and Winery in Edna Valley near San Luis Obispo, Calif., is the excellent quality of his 125 acres of grapes.

Wolff told GrapeLine his 12th grape harvest is “significantly better,” not only for him, but for all his San Luis Obispo County neighbors.

The crop load, especially the Pinot Noir, is much heavier than last year, Wolff reports. “It’s not just the sugar levels, but also the pH, Ta and, most importantly, the berry flavor. You can analyze various aspects of quality in the lab, but, ultimately, flavor drives the quality. This year the flavors are excellent.”

Read more about what Wolff has to say about this crop in GrapeLine by going to where you can access the latest issue and sign up for the exclusive electronic newsletter produced by Western Farm Press.

Fresno County, Calif., raisin growers are wrapping up an excellent season as well. Grower/packer Gerald Chooljian told GrapeLine he had raisins boxed by mid-September. Last year he still had raisins drying on the ground in late October.

“The grapes were extremely green when we picked them, and the raisins are beautiful,” Chooljian say. “If raisins were rated like wines, this would be a vintage year for the crop.”

Read more of what Chooljian had to say about the valley’s 2012 raisin crop in GrapeLine.

California table grape growers are on track to record their first 100-million-box season.

Shipping volume isn’t the only significant news about the California’s 2012 table grape crop.

“This is one of the highest-quality crops we’ve had in long time,” says industry veteran chuck Olsen. “As a result, the grapes have been flying off the shelves at the supermarkets.”

The quality of the grapes reflects ideal growing conditions this year from bloom to harvest. “The weather has been absolutely perfect for maturing the crop,” he adds.

Olsen is managing partner in the family-owned Chuck Olsen Co., based in Visalia, Calif., which grows, packs and ships table grapes. The company’s vineyards stretch from Delano to Orange Grove.

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