Sebastopol, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/10/2012 -- The 2011 California wine grape harvest was lighter and most of the grapes have been picking at lower sugar levels, giving winemakers the opportunity to make more elegant and balanced wines. According to California office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service the 2011 grape crush have totaled 3,874,146 tons, 3 percent down from the 2010 crush of 3,986,314 tons. Red wine varieties crush totaled for 1,920,036 tons, down 6 percent from 2010. The 2011 white wine variety accounted for 426,905 tons, down 7 percent from 2010. Raisin type varieties totaled 372,551, up 36 percent from 2010, and tons crushed of table type varieties totaled 154,653, up 25 percent from 2010.
At the same time California’s grape-growers are finally happy about the fact that the grape prices are raising. After three years of slower wine sales and an oversupply of bottled and bulk wines, wineries have finally cleared their inventories of older vintages and now there are looking to buy more grapes this year. That demand is pushing the grape and bulk wine prices up which make this market a very hot niche. There are few website like WineBusiness and VinoEnology.com where vintners and grape-growers can trade. So if you’re looking to buy bulk wine you will be find out that the prices are way up and that could be hurting factor for a number of small winery and négociants, which have using the bulk wine market to feed their brands. Most of the largest U.S. wine producers have signed long-term contracts with grape growers to secure their access to fruit and this gives them an option to better manage their wine price strategy. Overall, the grapes and bulk wine prices remain strong, and buyers and sellers should be very active.
Similar cases of grape shortages are reported elsewhere, according to The Drinks Business website France’s Languedoc saw grape prices rise to a 10-year high and Spain’s Rioja saw its 2011 grape yields drop to more than 20 percent, resulting in “a serious depletion of stocks matched by price rises.”
If this grape and bulk wine shortage continuing in the next few years, wineries may have to raise their wine prices, but they need to be very carefully so they don’t scare the consumers away and damage their brands. At the same time U.S. economy is start to recover and more Americans are increasingly interested in a lifestyle with food and wine, but most of those consumers are still looking to get discount deal of quality wines, which are offered by many wine flash sites like Wine.Woot, Lot18, GiltTaste and few others. The flash sites are product of the recession and a consolidation of distributors that has made it hard for wineries to get their wines into stores, but at the same time they have brought new customers into the space, and make them more comfortable in buying wine online.