2009 Top Grape Growers

Welcome to the 2009 edition of American/Western Fruit Grower’s Top Grape Growers report. We survey the nation’s largest grape growing operations annually for inclusion in this report, and the list is ranked according to 2008 acreage owned or leased by one company that is responsible for maintaining it.
In addition to the 2008 acreage, the list includes acreage changes from last year. Total, there was a net decrease of 4,666 acres for all the companies on the list. Farmland Management Services in Turlock, CA, # 20 on our list, had the largest increase, gaining 1,321 acres since last year.

Water Management

The current drought conditions in California mean water conservation is top of mind for growers across the region, and our Top Grape Growers are no exception.

One grower, Robert Abercrombie of Trinchero Family Estates in St. Helena, CA, # 6 on our list, shed some light on what his operation is doing to conserve water.

For the last five years, the company has been involved with Lodi Rules, a certified sustainable winegrape growing program that focuses on irrigation.

“At Trinchero Family Estates, soil moisture monitoring is obtained through neutron probe readings, which are taken once a week during the growing season, and we have neutron probes strategically placed at all of our vineyards,” Abercrombie says. “Neutron probes measure the amount of water in the soil to a depth of 5 feet. This information, along with the rainfall and ET (evapotranspiration) we track at each of our vineyards, helps us make good decisions on when to irrigate and how much to irrigate. Our goal is to give the vines just enough water to ripen the crop through reduced deficit irrigation and reduce the amount of excess vegetation, which is the result of over-irrigation.”

In addition, Trinchero Family Estates uses pressure bombs in some of its vineyards to measure the amount of water stress a plant is under. The operation also evaluates its irrigation equipment regularly to ensure efficiency. “We have had pumps rebuilt because of poor efficiency from pump tests,” Abercrombie says. “Emitter output is measured annually, and we also tear into a few emitters to see what’s going on in them. This has saved water and electricity, which is what we strive to achieve.”
 

 

Top Grape Growers

Rank
Company Name
Year Founded
Grape Acreage
Crops Grown
Total Acreage
2008 Rank (Acreage Change)
1
Bronco Wine Company, CA  1973 35,000* Winegrapes 35,000 1 (+300)
2
Gallo Vineyards, CA
 1933
15,000* Winegrapes
15,000  
2 (-8,000)
3
Beringer Vineyards, CA
1876
9,590* Winegrapes   9,590 3 (n/c)
4
Monterey Pacific, CA
1992
7,846 Winegrapes, Lemons  7,952 4 (+459)
5
Vino Farms, CA
1973
7,353* Winegrapes
7,353
5 (n/c)
6
Trinchero Family Estates, CA
1948
6,500 Winegrapes   6,500  6 (n/c)
7
Delicato Family Vineyards, CA
 1924
6,400 Winegrapes   6,400 8 (+500)
8
Giumarra Vineyards, CA
1930
6,400 Table Grapes 10,000 7 (n/c)
9
Kautz Farms, CA 1948 5,800 Winegrapes, Cherries
5,860
 9 (n/c)
10
Sun World International, CA 1976 5,406 Table Grapes, Stone Fruit
7,104
10 (+406)
11
Delano Farms, CA 1989 5,000* Table Grapes
5,000  
10 (n/c)
12
Scheid Vineyards, CA 1972 4,800 Winegrapes
4,800
13 (+150)
13
Creekside Land Company, CA 1996 4,500 Winegrapes
5,100
15 (+500)
14
Anthony Vineyards, CA
1972
4,400 Table Grapes
4,400
14 (+200)
15
J & L Farms, CA
1990
4,000 Table Grapes
4,000 
15
Sun Pacific Farming, CA
1969
4,000 Table Grapes 10,000
17
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, WA
1986
3,951 Winegrapes 3,951 19 (+951)
18
Beckstoffer Vineyards, CA
1970
3,811 Winegrapes 3,811 16 (+301)
19
Lucich Farms, CA
1974
3,500* Table Grapes, Pistachios
6,000
17 (n/c)
20
Farmland Management Services, CA
1986
3,338
Winegrapes, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Apples, Pears, Prunes, Cherries
30,073 24 (+1,321)
21
Stokes Farms, CA
1954 
3,255
Winegrapes, Pears, Cherries
4,945
18 (n/c)
22
Valley Farm Management, CA
1973 
2,800 Winegrapes 4,945 20 (n/c)
23
Gerawan Farming, CA
1938 
2,787 Winegrapes, Juice Grapes, Table Grapes, Stone Fruit 9,002 10 (-2,220)
24
Premiere Entities, c/o Westchester Group, CA
1986 
2,376 Winegrapes, Almonds, Pistachios, Cherries, Apples 12,705 21 (-4)
25
Lent-Burden Farming, CA
1993
2,360 Winegrapes, Almonds, Walnuts 6,232 25 (+470)
*estimated acreage    n/c = no change

 

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