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This week’s preliminary 2013 Grape Crush Report revealed that California’s wine grape industry produced 4.23 million tons of fruit — a crop that tops the record haul set in 2012.

The production of red wine grapes rose by 5 percent in 2013, yielding 2.41 million tons, while white wine grapes’ figure was 1.83 million tons, 6 percent over that of 2012, according to the state’s report.

Add table grapes to the mix, and the total rises to 4,685,075 tons crushed.

The state’s most popular grape continues to be chardonnay with 16.1 percent of the volume crushed. Second is cabernet sauvignon with 11.1 percent.

Thompson Seedless grapes led the pack of table grapes with 6.2 percent of the total tonnage crushed.

CCWP 9.17 SR RoadThe average per-ton price of red wine grapes was $842 — 4 percent less than last year’s. For white wine grapes, the average price was $620, less than 1 percent below the 2012 average.

Let’s compare highest with lowest price per ton: District 4 (Napa County) was highest, with $3,691.07, and District 13 lowest with $339.55 per ton.

Take note: District 13 is no wee lot — it comprises Madera, Fresno, Alpine, Mono and Inyo counties, as well as Kings and Tulare counties north of Nevada Avenue (Avenue 192). District 13’s total haul equaled 1,588,985 tons.

In addition, more vines were planted in District 13, translating to an 8 percent increase in its total tonnage.

Most of the state’s 17 districts saw an increase in growth. District 2, Lake County, provided the highest percentage with an increase of 24.1 percent, or 43,209 tons of wine grapes.

District 8 — Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties — harvested 10.5 percent more grapes in 2013 than in the prior year with 241,405 tons, the report noted.

The California Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) turn figures provided by the state’s vintners into this annual report.

The entire grape crush report is available at www.nass.usda.gov/ca

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Despite the relatively small amount of rain the Central Coast received last week, I have seen a few green shoots sprouting up from the brown hillsides and along our roads.

Many local vineyard owners used their overhead sprinklers to soak the vines in the weeks before the our recent rains. They no doubt feared the worst, as day after warm day of sun continued to parch the lands.

This week, the vineyards I pass on a near-daily basis — Duvarita, Kessler-Haak, Clos Pepe, Zotovich, Melville, Babcock and Ampelos — have at least the beginnings of lush green carpets from vine row cover crops.

Copyright Central Coast Wine Press

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