The Crush December 2023 - 1

Volume 49 | Issue 12 | December 2023
Article by Ted Rieger
Entering 2024, growers confront the ongoing challenges
of adapting to climate change, potential extreme
weather events, seasonal environmental conditions,
and pest issues in the vineyard. Beyond the vineyard,
challenges include adapting to trends in the wine and
grape market, global economic conditions, and new
regulatory requirements. Those who approach challenges
as new opportunities to improve operations will also
improve their ability to adapt to change and increase
their chances for success.
Economic and Market Issues
The global wine market continues to trend flat or
in modest decline for wine sales and consumption.
Wine producers are generally reluctant to increase
production volume, and they seek to reduce their
inventories and costs of production. Apart from specific
appellations (notably in Napa and Sonoma
Counties) demand and prices for California
winegrapes are generally soft statewide.
Such a market highlights the need to follow
market conditions and trends more closely
for decision-making. Re-evaluating current
economics of specific vineyard blocks and
operations may show benefits for taking
some vineyards out of production, converting
blocks to higher demand varieties, or to
varieties that require fewer inputs via better
pest and disease resistance or a shorter
growing season. Growers may also consider
changing management practices to increase
demand or add value for their grapes through
certifications for organic, biodynamic,
sustainable, or regenerative management
Although the current market
presents challenges to
obtaining higher grape
prices, growers with grape contracts that expire in 2024
may have opportunities to improve contract terms with
different buyers or to seek new market opportunities.
In terms of the general economy, the rate of inflation
has slowed somewhat and this could moderate price
increases for fuel, vineyard inputs and supplies. However,
cost increases for inputs and overall production in recent
years have not been offset by grape price increases.
Mechanizing more vineyard practices and implementing
new or additional technologies for crop monitoring
and vineyard and irrigation management could provide
longer-term benefits by reducing costs for labor, supplies
and inputs, and could improve grape quality.
Growers with employees could face additional costs
associated with new state regulations effective in
2024 that include: another minimum wage increase,
A Sign of the Times--An Indication of Grape Market Trends.
Photo: Ted Rieger

The Crush December 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush December 2023

The Crush December 2023 - 1
The Crush December 2023 - 2
The Crush December 2023 - 3
The Crush December 2023 - 4
The Crush December 2023 - 5
The Crush December 2023 - 6
The Crush December 2023 - 7
The Crush December 2023 - 8
The Crush December 2023 - 9
The Crush December 2023 - 10
The Crush December 2023 - 11
The Crush December 2023 - 12