Crop forecasts and smoke stain talks on Day 2 at the Grape Society meeting in the US

Published Nov 22, 2020

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Grape harvest in 2020 fell far below recent averages for both juice and wine grapes in Washington, according to industry analyst Trent Ball. Ball, who directs the vineyard and winery technology program at Yakima Valley College, shared his market outlook during the Washington State Grape Society annual meeting, held via webinar Nov. 18 and 19.

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Low prices in recent years have led growers to reduce Concord acreage, Ball said, but this year yields on the remaining acreage was lower than average, as well — perhaps an impact of the fall freezes in 2019. The good news is that cash prices continue to rebound, with an average of $205 per ton in Washington. In the Eastern U.S., where growers also saw below average yields, the average price hit $285 per ton. “We’re in a new normal for Washington,” Ball said, in regards to the drop in acreage. “Fortunately, I think there’s still some room for price growth, at least in the Western cash price.” For wine grape growers, the picture was less rosy. Wine shipments declined nearly 20 percent over the past year due to the pandemic, Ball said, and wineries have a lot of inventory. Growers expected to harvest 175,000 tons of wine grapes, he said, citing recent figures from the Washington Winegrowers Association. That’s down from the early season estimate of 260,000 tons that aligns more ...
Source: Goodfruit
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