The economic loss from the early April hard freeze in California’s Central Coast wine grape vineyards could total as many as 5 million cases of wine.

Veteran coast grape grower Dana Merrill of Templeton, Calif., made that estimate based on a yield loss of 2 tons per acre on 27,000 acres of grapes. He figures production in the Paso Robles area could drop by 54,000 tons.

Merrill made his prediction in an exclusive Western Farm Press e-newsletter, GrapeLine, which went out recently to subscribers.

Merrill owns and manages about 6,000 acres of vineyards on the Central Coast.

You can read more of what Merrill had to say by visiting recent issues of GrapeLine at where you can also subscribe to future, exclusive issues.

GrapeLine is written by the Farm Press staff and sponsored by Chemtura.

Also, in the latest issue of the twice-monthly grape growers e-newsletter, Sonoma County’s Duff Bevill talks about what is shaping up to be an “average” crop in that premium North Coast wine grape producing county.

So far, his vineyards have escaped any frost, insect and disease threats and the marketing is picking up steam.

“We’ve already sold some Cabernet Sauvignon to several wineries that came out earlier this year. We’re now talking with half-a-dozen buyers about selling other varieties,” Bevill says.

Bevill Vineyard Management LLC is based in Healdsburg, Calif.

He talks more about the progress of this year’s crop in the latest GrapeLine.

San Joaquin Valley raisin producers have experienced relatively low powdery mildew pressure this year.

Kerman, Calif., raisin grower Steve Dee likes the way his 2011 crop is coming along.

“Everything is looking really good,” he says. “The vines haven’t been suppressed by any diseases.”

“Right now, the outlook is very positive that we won’t have to fight the disease hard like we did last year. We have a pretty intense program for controlling mildew. Last year’s weather was perfect for mildew growth and everything we did wasn’t very effective.”

You can read more about what these California grape industry leaders have to say by visiting back issues of GrapeLine at