What is in this article?:
- Allied Grape Growers President Nat DiBuduo predicts California wine grape prices will likely remain strong this year, but should stabilize after two years of price surges tied to global crop shortages.
2013 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium speakers, from left: Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson, and Associates; Glenn Proctor, Ciatti Company; Charles Gill, Wine Metrics; Nat DiBuduo, Allied Grape Growers; and Mike Veseth, The Wine Economist Blog.
On the red side, Cabernet Sauvignon vines topped the sale list at 25 percent, followed by Pinot Noir (10 percent) and Zinfandel/Primitivo (6 percent).
For whites, French Colombard (13 percent) was the top seller. Chardonnay was second at 10 percent.
The top varietals sold in previous years included: 2011 - Muscat of Alexander (white) followed by Cabernet Sauvignon; 2010 – in order, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, plus Rubired (grown mostly for concentrate); 2009 – Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon; and 2008 - Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The 2012 survey results also indicate a shift in where new vines were planted. More planting occurred in higher wine price areas in California.
Muscat of Alexander and French Colombard vines were planted more in the value-priced wine regions (mostly the San Joaquin Valley). Pinot Noir was planted primarily in the high-end wine regions including Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties.
More Primitivo and Chardonnay vines were planted in the mid-range wine priced regions, including Monterey, Mendocino, and Paso Robles.
Looking at 2013, DiBuduo predicts about 15,000 new net acres of bearing vines to add to current production potential.
DiBuduo discussed whether California wine grape vines are overplanted. He shared a PowerPoint slide which supported both sides of the issue.
DiBuduo said, “California wine grapes are not overplanted. I believe the industry is right on target with moderate expansion, but we better be careful to not overplant.”
If significant plantings continue over the next few years, similar to 2012, the wine grape leader says an oversupply could occur in the future.
“I suggest we all exercise planting caution to avoid oversupply from the year 2016 forward. I’m not saying stop planting. We still have the need for grapes. Use your head and get a contract.”
DiBuduo also discussed major bearing acreage variety trends from the survey. Statewide, bearing Chardonnay acreage will expand to about 120,000 bearing acres in 2016; up from about 100,000 acres in 2010.
“This is good moderate growth in Chardonnay,” DiBuduo said.
Moderate growth is also found in coastal acres with Cabernet Sauvignon which will total about 120,000 bearing acres in 2016.