Napa County crop value jumps 60% in 2021, driven by wine grape rebound from wildfires
Napa County's annual report on agricultural crop values showed most crop values were higher than the previous year, and overall the value of all of its agricultural production put at $745.8 million, an increase of $280,336,700 over 2020.
According to the report released Wednesdaythe contribution of grapes to overall agricultural output of the county is clear. Of the $745.8 million value of all crops produced in the county, the value of the wine grape crop alone came in at $741.7 million.
In red wine grape production - the dominant wine crop in the county- the value of the crop was $663,369,300 in 2021, versus $383,276,900 in 2020.
“This increase in production value was primarily due to a 21.4% rise in winegrape production and a 32.5% increase in the average price paid for all Napa County winegrape varieties compared to the previous year,” stated Tracy Cleveland, county agricultural commissioner and sealer.
Reasons for the dramatic year-to-year fluctuation in wine grape values stem from the large dip which occurred in the value of the 2020 harvest.
As the Journal reported in February, 2020, the preliminary value of the crop from the Napa Valley was $465,788.309 - 51% below the year before.
"The smaller 2020 crop because of weather and fires plus reduced demand for high-end wines during the restaurant closures in the pandemic has helped bring the North and Central Coast supply of California’s premium grapes closer toward balance," Brian Clements, vice president and a partner in Turrentine Brokerage in Novato, told the Journal then.
Napa cabernet sauvignon grape prices alone that year fell by Napa cab fell by $1,686 a ton, to $6,186, falling below $7,000 for the first time since 2016, the report stated.
Almost a year after that story, the threads of a rebound were clear. Analysis of preliminary figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as reported in February, 2022 showed the regional value of the wine crop had not reached 2019 levels, but it had recovered from 2020's decline caused, according to some experts quoted, by questions about smoke exposure, negotiations and cancellations.
The Journal reported that, "A key indicator of that snap back is Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, the county average for which cleared $8,000 a ton for the first time, jumping 29% from $6,212 in 2020. The average price was 7% above the five-year average, surpassing the previous peak of nearly $7,900."
Related facts from the wine grape portion of the 2021 report show the number of red wine grape producing acres in Napa County was 36,636 up slightly while tons per acre rose from 1.99 tons per acre fo 2.58 tons per acre.
White wine grape acres in production was mostly unchanges, while the tons produced per acre was 2.76, the county report, down from 3 in 2020.