The Preliminary Grape Crush Report for 2020 was recently released and shows a decline of nearly 14 percent from the year prior. Figures show that a total of 3,542,038 tons of grapes were crushed in 2020. The report is compiled by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. 2020 marks the third-lowest crush figures over the last decade. The report includes the total number of tons crushed for concentrate production.
Red wine varieties made of the majority of grapes crushed for the year. A total of 1,813,964 tons of red wine varieties were crushed, marking a decline of nearly 16 percent. White wine varieties were down nearly 10 percent with a total of 1,590,335 tons. Tonnage crushed of raisin and table varieties also declined substantially, at 30.5 percent and 29.1 percent, respectively.
The Preliminary Grape Crush Report broke down where the decline in tonnage was most notable. Regionally, the North Coast saw the most dramatic decline of 31 percent with 362,527 tons crushed. The Central Coast totaled 400,779 tons for a decline of 17 percent. Norther Interior tonnage dropped by 12 percent to 906,346 tons crushed. The Southern Interior remained strong with 1,712,843 tons crushed for a decline of eight percent from 2019.
The tonnage numbers reflected in the preliminary grape crush were not entirely unexpected. Multiple areas of production experienced varying levels of damage from the wildfires in 2020. The overall crop was already on the lower side, combined with grapes left on the vine because of smoke damage. Allied Grape Growers President Jeff Bitter indicated that the short crop can be weathered by the industry as it works to come back into better balance.
Prices also experienced a sharp decline from 2019. The Preliminary Grape Crush Report showed that the average price for all varieties was down nearly 17 percent. The $674.72 per ton average was the lowest price since 2015. Prices for table grapes fell the furthest at 38.2 percent. Red wine grapes saw the second-largest decline in prices, falling 22.4 percent to $791.33 per ton.