We always look forward to the annual grape crush report issued by the California Agricultural Statistics Service because it not only paints a picture of the vintage, but also provides a preview of what we can expect in the marketplace a few years down the road.
Here are a few bullet points from the report on the 2018 harvest:
* The winegrape harvest was up about 7% over 2017, with 4.28 million tons crushed.
* That’s a new record, surpassing the 4.2 million tons of grapes crushed in 2013.
* In Napa Valley, California’s most famous wine region, the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest jumped from 66,000 tons in 2017 to 89,000 tons in 2018.
* Higher yields in Napa were mirrored by similar results in Sonoma County and in the Central Coast region.
* Across the board, the average price per ton of grapes was $831.63, which represents a 6.8% increase over 2017.
There are many more fascinating statistics, and if you’re interested, you can access more of them in this comprehensive report from Wine Business.
The numbers are one thing, but what do they mean for us wine lovers?
Well, we can expect — are you sitting down? — 1.5 million more cases of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, compared to 2017. While some of the additional Cabernet grapes will go into Bordeaux-style blends with proprietary names, a vast majority will be bottled as varietal Cabernet Sauvignon.
On the down side, the average price of the grapes increased 6.67% in Napa County to $5,571 per ton, which means you can expect higher prices for the 2018 vintage.
Of course, we’ve come to expect annual price hikes in virtually every aspect of our lives, from food to recreational pursuits, and from automobiles to houses. Wine has followed a similar path, which is why it’s more important than ever to place your trust in Vinesse to uncover hidden gems that represent not only great quality, but also great value.