Winegrape farming is changing in California’s Central Valley.
There’s a new focus on quality as a larger portion of Valley grapes now go into premium varietal wines.
According to the Central Valley Business Journal, more farmers in the region are developing their own wineries, with at least 40 estates in the San Joaquin Valley south of Stockton alone.
Just to the north of Stockton is the Lodi appellation, a federally designated American Viticultural Area recognized for the distinctive quality of its wines.
The Lodi region has dozens of small wineries, some of them set amid the vineyards that yield the grapes for their wines.
“There’s quite a bit of new little boutique wineries. The emphasis has been shifted to ‘wine growing,’ we call it — growing grapes for wine,” says Nat DiBuduo, president of Fresno-based Allied Grape Growers.
DiBuduo says with better quality comes better prices for the grapes.
“We’re getting better pricing, but there’s also better demand, which helps drive the price up as well,” he says.
Observers expect the number of small wineries in the Central Valley to continue to increase, as more farmers become winery operators.