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California grape harvest rebounds to a record

California grape harvest rebounds to a record
A worker harvests pinot noir grapes in October at the Sea Smoke vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills, near Lompoc. The California grape harvest rebounded in 2012 to a record high of more than 4 million tons.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

After back-to-back lean years in 2010 and 2011, the California grape harvest rebounded in 2012 to a record high of more than 4 million tons (that’s up from 3.8 million in 2011 and 3.9 million in 2012).

Over at the San Francisco Chronicle’s Inside Scoop SF, wine editor Jon Bonné has an astute analysis of what that means for California wine.

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He writes, “Aside from a flush feeling in the vineyard, what did 2012 bring? In many ways, more of the same: another record delivery of Chardonnay (up more than 30%), a huge jump for Pinot Noir (up 45%), Sauvignon Blanc (up 43%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (nearly 30%) — in other words, California going large on what it knows best.”

He analyzes the shifting geography of California wine as more grapes will be coming from inland California. Lodi, for example, produced nearly twice as much Chardonnay as Sonoma.

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He also looks at which grape varietals are on the rise. In whites, “the Portuguese grape verdelho was up to nearly 1,653 tons, more than 50% up from 2009. That’s more grown than roussanne. Gruner veltliner, the Austrian grape, was up to 555 tons, more than triple its 2009 plantings.”

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