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High grape prices help Napa crush crop value record

Wine grape growers grossed just over $1.2 billion for their varietals in 2023.

Todd Fitchette, Associate Editor

May 22, 2024

2 Min Read
Chardonnay grapes
Chardonnay grapes were the most popular white varietal planted in Napa County last year. Chardonnay growers averaged over four tons per acre, across more than 5,600 bearing acres.Todd Fitchette

Gross agricultural receipts in Napa County, Calif. hit a new record in 2023, just several years after a global pandemic tanked grape prices and sent the county’s gross receipts plummeting.

Wine grape growers grossed just over $1.2 billion for their varietals as the county’s gross agricultural values rose 35% from the previous year to $1,207,919,300, according to the annual crop report published by the county’s department of agriculture.

Napa’s agricultural receipts are tied to wine grape prices, but one thing is for certain: there doesn’t seem to be a ceiling for those prices. Other commodities pale in comparison as floral and nursery crops were valued last year at just over $150,000. Livestock added about $1.4 million to the county’s overall agricultural portfolio.

Wine grapes

Red wine grapes continue to lead on the ledger of gross receipts at just over $1 billion. Napa vineyard owners produced over 134,000 tons of red wine varietals across over 37,000 acres in 2023. Yields averaged 3.59 tons per acre across all varietals. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon growers received the highest prices per ton at $10,633, and $9,235, respectively.

The average value of red grapes per ton and the total acreage planted to red varietals has never been higher, according to the county’s annual report. Farmers last year grossed an average of $8,000 per ton for their red wine grapes.

Likewise, the average price per ton for white wine grapes has never been higher, though the acreage planted to those grapes continues to decline sharply. White wine grape acreage remained at or above 10,000 acres for about a decade after 2007. Since then acreage has declined to under 8,900, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc clearly leading the way at almost 91% of total white wine grape acreage.

The average price per ton for Chardonnay grapes was just under $3,700, or a little over $1,000 per ton less than white Riesling, the most valuable white wine varietal last year.

Organic acreage

Napa County boasts nearly 7,500 acres of certified organic production across a variety of crops, including winegrapes, citrus, other fruits, livestock, nuts, and vegetables.

On behalf of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Napa County Agricultural Department inspects organic producers who generate less than $5,000 in annual sales. This includes spot checks on products sold at farmers’ markets for residue samples. In 2023, the county reported 150 registered organic producers.

There are five certified farmers’ markets in Napa County.

About the Author(s)

Todd Fitchette

Associate Editor, Western Farm Press

Todd Fitchette, associate editor with Western Farm Press, spent much of his journalism career covering agriculture in California and the western United States. Aside from reporting about issues related to farm production, environmental regulations and legislative matters, he has extensive experience covering the dairy industry, western water issues and politics. His journalistic experience includes local daily and weekly newspapers, where he was recognized early in his career as an award-winning news photographer.

Fitchette is US Army veteran and a graduate of California State University, Chico. 

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