Let’s Stand Together

Let's Stand Together

The leader of one of the top winegrape grower groups believes the time has come to charge growers a mandatory assessment on their grapes and pool the money to promote American wine. Nat DiBuduo, the president and chief executive officer of Allied Grape Growers, a winegrape marketing cooperative with more than 500 California grower-members, said the U.S. is simply importing too much foreign wine at the expense of American growers.

Now, nearly one-third of the wine consumed in the U.S. is imported, and that figure keeps going up, says DiBuduo. All the growers say that needs to stop, but that won’t happen unless the growers do something about it. “We need to take them head on,” he says. “We have a great product — we just need to make sure consumers know it.”

DiBuduo, who serves on American and Western Fruit Grower’s Editorial Advisory Board, knows he’s something of a contrarian in this age when other groups that assessed growers for marketing are being gutted, such as the Washington Apple Commission a few years ago. But the situation with winegrapes is a little different. Because most wineries are going to want to promote their own products and wouldn’t enter into a generic marketing effort, it’s up to the growers to regain market share.

Steady As She Goes Into ’08

The recent year went gratefully smooth after a couple of years of oversupply of winegrapes in 2005 and 2006, says Nat DiBuduo of the growers’ marketing cooperative Allied Growers. The crop was average-sized in pretty much all areas, the exception being California’s Central Coast, which was down 15% to 35%, depending on the variety.

The drought in Australia certainly didn’t hurt U.S. growers in 2007, as it brought one big player, Canadaigua, back into the U.S. market, says DiBuduo. The industry giant had originally said it would buy 100,000 fewer tons of grapes in 2007. The huge impact on the industry points up the tremendous impact that consolidation has had on the industry. That trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down, as late in 2007 Constellation snapped up several labels, including Clos du Bois and Geyser Peak. “It means less competition for grapes,” he says, “and more challenges for growers.”

Everything points to a great ’08, says Dibuduo. Planting has slowed over the past couple of years, so as long as yields stay relatively normal, the outlook appears rosy. “Provided we have another average-sized crop,” he says, “I’m anticipating more demand, and better prices.”

And make no mistake about it, that market share is quickly being eroded. Our competitors abroad have had great success through the years gaining a foothold in the U.S. market, says DiBuduo, noting the success of Pinot Gris from Italy, Pinot Noir from France, and a variety from Australia called Syrah that the Aussies have had the audacity to give their own name — Shiraz — even in the U.S. “Where we’ve had a void in the past, they’ve stepped in to fill it,” he says. “The problem is they never go home.”

We’ve Got The Market

DiBuduo says the U.S. will become the largest wine-consuming country in the near future, and that fact certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by our competitors abroad. “All foreign countries are targeting the U.S.,” he says. “In order to combat that, we need to stand up for our industry. We need a mandatory assessment.”

DiBuduo is not sure precisely what form the assessment should take. Though it would be on growers, he’s not even sure which ones should pay. While he has understandably thought of it in terms of a California effort in the past, as California does produce 87% of the U.S. total, there’s no reason to limit the effort to the Golden State. “The more partners involved,” he says, “the better.”

However, no matter who is assessed, there’s no question the assessment would have to be value-based, says DiBuduo. It simply wouldn’t be fair to base an assessment on acreage or volume. Most such organizations charge something akin to a box tax, but because of the disparity in winegrape prices, that wouldn’t work. “Eighty acres of Merlot in the San Joaquin Valley may gross less than 15 acres of Cabernet in the Napa Valley,” he says. “We need to find parity.”

If you’d like to contact DiBuduo about the proposed assessment, his e-mail address is: nat@alliedgrapegrowers.org.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories

Farm ManagementLeadership And Management Expert To Speak At California Agriculture Seminar
August 27, 2014
Daniel Goleman will make presentation at California State University-Fresno. Read More
CitrusNational Scientific Summit On Herbicide Resistant Weeds Coming In September
August 27, 2014
Topics to be covered include the economics of proactively managing herbicide resistance, education and outreach efforts, and incentives and regulatory initiatives. Read More
FruitsFlorida Organic Group Dedicated To Serving Growers, Community
August 27, 2014
Education and development programs are plentiful for interested producers. Read More
CitrusClean Water Conundrum: Ditch The Rule Or Ditch The Myths? [Opinion]
August 26, 2014
Regulation inundation causing a rising tide of confusion for farmers. Read More
BerriesMichigan State University Extension Offers Tips To Prevent Leaf Rust In Blueberries
August 26, 2014
Humidity, rainy periods conducive to disease development. Read More
GrapesMichigan Conference Focuses On Impact Of Climate Change In Grapes
August 22, 2014
Experts from Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and Northwestern Michigan College to discuss Polar Vortex, technology, and unmanned systems at one-day conference. Read More
GrapesNew York Grape Grower Survey Reveals Huge Losses
August 22, 2014
Cornell Cooperative Extension publishes results of a grower poll of winter injury damage. Read More

The Latest

Farm ManagementLeadership And Management Expert To Speak At California…
August 27, 2014
Daniel Goleman will make presentation at California State University-Fresno. Read More
CitrusNational Scientific Summit On Herbicide Resistant Weeds…
August 27, 2014
Topics to be covered include the economics of proactively managing herbicide resistance, education and outreach efforts, and incentives and regulatory initiatives. Read More
FruitsFlorida Organic Group Dedicated To Serving Growers, Com…
August 27, 2014
Education and development programs are plentiful for interested producers. Read More
CitrusClean Water Conundrum: Ditch The Rule Or Ditch The Myth…
August 26, 2014
Regulation inundation causing a rising tide of confusion for farmers. Read More
FruitsSpotted Wing Drosophila Populations Rising In Michigan
August 26, 2014
Extension researchers advise berry growers on trapping, salt testing to take stock of pest population. Read More
Citrus‘Super Cold’ Winter, Sizzling Summer On Tap In 2015…
August 21, 2014
The 223rd edition of the folksy regional forecast manual predicting extremes. Read More
CitrusBorder Crisis Not Helping Farmers
August 19, 2014
As thousands cross into the U.S. seeking refuge, calls for ag labor reform are lost in the uproar. Read More
FruitsHandheld Produce Quality Meter Debuts At 2014 Internati…
August 19, 2014
Researchers to present data measuring dry matter, color, and sugar content of cherries and other product pre- and postharvest. Read More
FruitsEuropean Fruit And Vegetable Growers Hit By Russian Ban…
August 19, 2014
Angry at European Union/United States sanctions over Ukraine, Russia has banned many food imports. Read More
Crop ProtectionBioConsortia Inc. Bolsters Executive Team
August 18, 2014
Industry veterans Christina Huben and Dr. Susan Turner bring experience to plant biotechnology firm. Read More
CitrusFlorida’s Future Farming Leaders Dig Up Knowledge…
August 15, 2014
Class 3 of FFVA's Emerging Leader Development Program learn a lot from road trip to California's Salinas Valley. Read More
CitrusWater Bond Will Appear On California Ballot
August 14, 2014
Voters will decide if thirsty state will spend $7.5 billion, including $2.7 billion for storage. Read More
CitrusU.S. Fall Weather Outlook Foresees Wild Ride
August 14, 2014
From continued drought in the West, to a possible early Polar Vortex visit in the East, forecasters are predicting an active autumn. Read More
CitrusMiffed By Marketing? You’re Not Alone [Opinion]
August 13, 2014
Properly promoting product involves engaging your target audience to meet their needs. But based on the campaigns dominating airtime, many are missing the mark. Read More
CitrusUpdate On The Farm Bill Implementation
August 11, 2014
A six-month progress report states disaster relief, risk management tools, innovative conservation partnerships, and the research foundation are all moving forward. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Grape & Tree Fruit League Is Now The Cal…
August 8, 2014
Name change better encompasses and identifies the commodities, which includes blueberries, it represents. Read More
Fruits4 Creative Ideas For Your Farm’s Direct Marketing…
August 8, 2014
While there is no recipe for the perfect activity for your farm, these venues have carved their own path through new offerings. Read More
Business PlanningHow To Hire The Best Employees In 7 Steps
August 8, 2014
The success of your farm market business depends on finding the right people to fill your needs. Read More