The Crush November 2022 - 1

theCrush
Volume 49 | Issue 11 | November 2022
FEATURE STORY
2022 California Winegrape Harvest, Market Trends
THIRD CONSECUTIVE SHORT CROP HELPS BALANCE SUPPLY/DEMAND
Article by Ted Rieger
The 2022 California winegrape harvest marks the third
consecutive year with a below average crop that will
help bring the grape market into balance relative to
supply and demand. Grape prices this year were stable
or slightly higher, however, with higher production
costs for grapegrowers and smaller crops to sell, few
growers will see improved profits this year. Allied Grape
Growers President Jeff Bitter estimates California's
2022 winegrape harvest to be around 3.6 million tons,
very similar to the 2021 crop total. Although planted
acreage provides the potential to produce a statewide
crop of 4 million tons, the relative average for the period
from 2012 to 2019, climate-related events each of the
past three years have resulted in lower than average
winegrape crops.
Fires and smoke did not impact the crop this year as
in 2020, but an early season frost, prolonged drought
conditions, and a warm growing season followed by an
early September record-high heat wave all took a toll
on crop size this year. Spring frosts reduced crop across
several regions, including the Sierra Foothills and parts
of Lodi, and chardonnay was hard hit in the Delta and
Clarksburg areas accounting for some of the higher
tonnage reductions. The main part of the growing season
from late April through August provided relatively good
growing conditions. However, with 2022 being one of
the driest precipitation years on record in California, soil
moisture levels were low at the beginning of the growing
season and throughout, resulting in reductions in overall
crop weight. Heat during harvest reduced yields further,
and Bitter estimates the prolonged and widespread
September 1-9 heat wave alone could have reduced the
total crop by 200,000 tons statewide.
Glenn Proctor, partner at bulk wine
and grape broker The Ciatti Company
summarized, " This was one of the
more erratic weather years we've seen,
with frost and heat having the biggest
impacts on crop size. The week of scorching heat was a
defining factor and was like nothing ever seen before. "
Overall, Proctor said, " We saw the best yields from
vineyards where growers had the money to fertilize and
the water to irrigate. " Rain that followed the heat wave in
September did not negatively impact the crop or result in
rot or fungal issues. " Crop picked after the rain generally
came out better than if it had been picked during the
heat wave, " Proctor said.
Good quality was reported in general for grapes
harvested prior to the heat wave including most white
varieties. However, grapes harvested during or after
the heat wave could have quality impacts from heat
degradation, such as reduced color in red varieties due
to reductions in anthocyanins, depending on location,
variety, and maturity level during the heat event. Heat
and dehydration also skewed grape chemistries, with
Mechanically harvested grapes conveyed to a gondola
Photo: Ted Rieger
some fruit brought in at 30 degrees Brix and above.
Proctor cited a comment from one grower relations rep
who said, " This is the year the winemakers will have to
earn their money. "

The Crush November 2022

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The Crush November 2022 - 1
The Crush November 2022 - 2
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