A preliminary grape crush report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service and California Department of Food and Agriculture indicates a record harvest of4.38 million tons, 13% higher than 2011 and about 1% higher than the harvest of 2005, the previously all-time record for the state. However, the table grapes and raisins total was lower than the last few years. Either more focus is being placed on wine grapes or more folks are drinking their grapes instead of eating them.
What does that mean for the wine consumer? The laws of economics suggest that a larger supply will result in lowering prices although this never seems to apply to cult wines and famous labels. One does need to factor in that a higher yield at a vineyard, assuming a constant number of vines, might impact the overall quality of grapes harvested. Some grape growers drop clusters to force more intense juice in the remaining clusters. In other words, more is not always better.
Still to be determined is if this will also be a great vintage year from the standpoint of grape quality and the resulting wines. And for those more in love with California raisins than wine this may not be the best news to come out of the Golden State.