The annual California Grape Acreage Report, released on April 13 by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, tells two very different stories. On one hand, the total acreage continued declining, dropping to the lowest level since the late 1990s. Older grape varieties have been pulled out of the San Joaquin Valley in recent years, as growers planted other crops, such as almonds and pistachios. But the newer winegrape varieties planted in recent years began bearing, so bearing winegrape acreage hit an all-time high, nearly reaching half a million acres.
The acreage report, which is based on the 2010 crop, showed total grape acreage of 842,000 acres, with 792,000 bearing and 50,000 nonbearing. The winegrape acreage was estimated at 535,000, with 497,000 bearing acres, up from 489,000 in 2009. Table grape acreage totaled 94,000, with 85,000 bearing acres. Acreage of raisin-type grapes totaled 213,000 acres, with just 3,000 nonbearing acres.
The leading winegrape varieties continue to be Chardonnay for the whites and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds. Flame Seedless was the leading table grape variety. Thompson Seedless continued to be the top raisin-type variety, although Thompsons are also utilized for the fresh market as well as for concentrate and wine.
A PDF of the “California Grape Acreage Report, 2010 Crop” is located at www.nass.usda.gov/ca.