Driven by a near 30% rise in production and buyers who were paying more for growers’ product, the value of 2018 Napa Valley wine grapes topped $1 billion for the first time, according to the Napa County Crop Report.
The findings mirror a report on wine production by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in April that valued the North Coast (Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties) wine crop at $2.01 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2018.
“The Napa County winegrape industry had an exceptional year. For the first time in the county’s history, the gross value of winegrape production was over one billion dollars at $1,038,600,100 – an increase of $287,767,700 compared to 2017. This increase in gross value was primarily due to a 29.6% rise in winegrape production and a 6.7% increase in the average price paid for all Napa County winegrape varieties,” said the report released Tuesday by Agricultural Commissioner-Sealer Humberto Izquierdo.
In Napa County, wine vastly overshadows all other agricultural production. More than 34,000 acres were devoted to red wine grapes such as cabernet sauvignon last year, for example, and that category alone produced 137,335 tons of grapes valued at $908.4 million. White wine grape production represented just 9,304 acres in production last year, yielding 47,238 tons valued at $130 million.
The balance tipped further to red grapes last year versus 2017, with a dip in acreage planted in white grapes. As a result, the total number of acres devoted to wine production in the Napa Valley last year slipped to 43,365 from 43,584 in 2017.
Also included in the report – hard times from another part of the fruit and nut category.
“It was a tough year, however, for olives…,” the report stated. Tons per acre dropped dramatically, from 2.4 to 0.6, along with crop value, declining to just $104,300 from $520,300 in 2017.
Pests and weather conspired against the producers until “by the end of the season, much of the fruit was so damaged that many olives remained unharvested.”
Livestock and poultry also saw production and value drop in 2018. The report noted cattle and sheep production dropped dramatically, blaming the dip in part on the loss of range because of the 2017 wildfires that ringed Napa County. Value of this category dropped to $1.5 million last year from $2.7 million in 2017.
Field crops, with a value of $539,200, increased in value versus 2017 which brought in $493,400. Those who grow vegetables in the county saw the value of their work decline, from $249,900 in 2017 to $170,500 last year.
Floral and nursery crop value increased from $651,700 in 2017 to $704,500 last year.
Napa County Agriculture
Wine Production – Napa County
Red Producing Acres Tons Per Acre Tonnage
2018 - 34,061 3.73 137,335
2017 - 33,882 2.95 106,046
2018 9,304 4.90 46,238
2017 9,762 3.74 36,367
Total Value $1,038,600,100
2018 - $1,926,700
2017 - $3,382,300
Poultry & Other Animal Products
2018 - $1,056,000
2017 - $766,200
2018 - $703,500
2017 - $651,000
2018 - $539,200
2017 - $493,400
2018 - $170,500
2017 - $249,900
Source: Napa County Department of Agriculture / Department of Weights and Measures