September 3, 2013
Crop Report Shows Increase in Lake County Winegrape Value and Production
KELSEYVILLE, CA – An increase in Lake County winegrape tons per acre and overall value contributed to a boost in the gross value of the county’s overall agriculture production last year, according to the 2012 Lake County Crop Report.
The Lake County Department of Agriculture released the annual report in mid-August just as the 2013 winegrape harvest was getting under way. The 2012 report indicates a 20 percent rise in winegrapes’ gross value, from $40 million in 2011 to $47.9 million last year. Production for the year was up by 800 tons from the previous year.
Lake County Winegrape Commission President Debra Sommerfield said the numbers are indicative of an industry trend that is favorable to Lake County.
“What this increase reflects is both an overall industrywide increase in demand for winegrapes combined with the increasing recognition Lake County winegrapes receive for quality,” Sommerfield said.
In Agricultural Commissioner Steve Hajik’s summary, he noted that total winegrape tonnage harvested in the county increased by 3 percent and the total grape acreage was 8,392, an increase of 54 acres. Tons per acre increased only slightly, he stated; however, the price per ton increased by 15 percent.
Cabernet Sauvignon led the top varietals in both tonnage and total dollar returns (11,992 tons; $8.6 million). Other top production varietals included Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah.
The Agriculture Department’s report also indicated that the winegrape industry’s value, as well as acreage, in 2012 was the highest it has been in the last 10 years.
“For many years, Lake County winegrowers have been working diligently to deliver quality fruit,” Sommerfield said. “They’ve done the heavy lifting. They have researched and learned about Lake County soils, climate and elevation. They have focused on planting the right varietal in the right location, and they have raised the professionalism of their vineyard crews by training them on best practices and sustainable farming techniques. The quality speaks for itself.
“Winegrape buyers and winemakers are taking note. At the Commission office, we have fielded an increasing number of inquiries for winegrapes over the past several months, and we continue to hear from several prestigious North Coast winemakers about their positive impressions of the quality of Lake County winegrapes.”
The Lake County Winegrape Commission is a marketing order established in 1992 to promote the region’s premium winegrapes and to assist winegrape growers. For further information about the Lake County Winegrape Commission and its programs, call the Commission office at (707) 279-2633 or visit www.lakecountywinegrape.org.