The Crush Jan/Feb 2024 - 1

theCrush
Volume 50 | Issue 1 | January/February 2024
FEATURE STORY
UNIFIED STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
GRAPE MARKET OVERSUPPLY NEEDS " REACTION " BY PULLING VINES
Article by Ted Rieger
Grape and wine supplies are in excess, in California and
globally, according to wine and grape market experts
speaking at the 2024 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
" State of the Industry " session. Speakers advised the
industry to take a " unified " approach across all sectors
to work together to reduce supply, stimulate demand,
and address headwinds such as global anti-alcohol
messaging.
CAWG Director and Allied Grape Growers President
Jeff Bitter's theme this year was " reaction " based on
current grape market conditions and the future outlook.
As in past years, he advised California growers to pull
out vines to reduce supply. California's total bearing
acreage target range should be 520,000 to 540,000
acres. Current estimated bearing acreage is over 560,000
acres. Looking ahead, " Plantings in 2024 and 2025 are
expected to moderate significantly, but that doesn't
help us until years from now; we need to adjust bearing
acreage down immediately, " Bitter said. He advised,
" Close to 50,000 acres need to be removed for a net
reduction of 30,000 acres, as almost 20,000 new acres
will be bearing this year from previous planting. "
Bitter provided specifics for vine removals by region,
variety and price point. For interior regions south of
Lodi in the under $6/bottle segment, remove 15,000
acres with a focus on red grapes south of Fresno. Target
varieties and acreage: Zinfandel (4,000 acres), generic
reds (4,000 acres), aging Merlot and Cabernet (4,000
acres), and aging generic whites (3,000 acres).
For Lodi/Delta/Northern Interior in the $6-$11/bottle
segment, remove 15,000 acres as follows: aged out
Merlot and Cabernet (6,000 acres), Zinfandel for
white and head-trained (4,000 acres), aged/poor
producing Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc (4,000
acres), and miscellaneous reds/Malbec/Petite Sirah
(1,000 acres).
For coastal regions excluding Napa/
Sonoma in the $11-$25/bottle
2024 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium
State of the Industry Session
segment, remove 15,000 acres as follows: Cabernet
(5,000 acres) mostly Central Coast; Pinot Noir from
Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties (3,000 acres);
other reds/aged Merlot and Syrah (3,000 acres); aged
Chardonnay in Mendocino, Monterey and Santa Barbara
Counties (2,000 acres); Zinfandel in Mendocino and
Paso Robles (1,000 acres); and other aged whites (1,000
acres).
Napa and Sonoma County grapes for the above $25/
bottle segment remain in good demand and are market
bright spots with expansion limited by resources,
suitable land and economic factors. However, Bitter still
recommends removing 5,000 acres as follows: Sonoma
Cabernet Sauvignon (2,000 acres), Sonoma County
zinfandel (1,000 acres), aged and old clone Pinot Noir
(1,000 acres), and aged Sonoma vineyards all varieties
(1,000 acres).
Bitter will be making phone calls to Allied's growers
who have expiring grape contracts and may not have

The Crush Jan/Feb 2024

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The Crush Jan/Feb 2024 - 1
The Crush Jan/Feb 2024 - 2
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