Napa County winegrape value hits record $750M with big cabernet sauvignon jump
Napa County’s winegrape harvest last year hit a new record value of $750.8 million, up 2.9 percent, or $21.3 million, from the previous year, county officials reported April 24.
The high value came even though winegrape production dipped in Napa County in 2017, dropping about 10,630 tons, or 6.9 percent, to 142,413 tons. Preliminary values and yields for 2017 were first reported by the Business Journal in February.
Winegrapes made up 99.2 percent of the county’s $757.1 million in total agricultural production last year.
In the report, Agricultural Commissioner Greg Clark stated the average price paid per ton for all winegrapes was $5,272. In 2017, the highest average price paid for any Napa County winegrape variety was $7,871 per ton for cabernet franc. There were 1,113 bearing acres of cabernet franc in 2017.
Napa County’s most-planted varieties are cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and merlot, accounting for 70 percent of production and about 80 percent of value. In 2017, about 66,733 tons of cab were harvested from 20,953 acres and sold at an average price of $7,498 per ton, the report said. The average price blew through $7,000-a-ton for the first time, jumping 9.78 percent from 2016.
Chardonnay bearing acreage (6,261) exceeded that of merlot (4,535) by 1,726 acres, but merlot sold at $579 more per ton on average, the report said. Cabernet franc and merlot often are used in fractional blends with cabernet sauvignon varietal wines, grape brokers say.
Merlot production was 13,160 tons, valued at an average of $3,390 per ton. Chardonnay production was 20,684 tons, selling for $2,811 per ton on average.
About 3,500 acres of Napa County vineyards were located within the October wildfire areas, but only 126 of those acres were burned, the report said. About 10 percent of the 2017 winegrape crop in the county was still on the vine when the fires started.
Other crops are grown in Napa County, and last year, the county states the largest drop-off in crop values came in the Floral and Nursery Crops category. What had in 2016 produced commodities valued at $2.1 million descended to only $651,700 in 2017, the county stated. That decline was due mostly to wet weather and the closure of several production nurseries. The number of square feet devoted to floral/nursery crops declined from 538,700 square feet in 2016 to 348,590 square feet in 2017.