California grape prices reached a record high last year

California grape prices reached a record high last year

California wine grapes hit a record high price in 2012, up 21% year-on-year, latest figures show.

The average price for a tonne of the region's wine grapes was US$769, compared to $637m in 2011, according to figures from the California Department of Food and Agriculture released late last week. Red wine grapes rose by 24% to an average price of $879 per tonne, while white wine grapes were up by 15% to $624.

The region also saw a record last year in the number of grapes crushed. The department reported that 4.38m tonnes were pressed, up 13% from 2011. Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share, at 2.3m tonnes, up 19% year-on-year. White wine grapes totalled 1.7m tonnes, up 21%. 

However, in variety terms, Chardonnay led the way with 16.8% of the total crush volume, the figures showed. Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for the second leading share of crush with 11.3% of the total.  

It is the second year running California has seen record high wine grape prices after reporting a similar jump for 2011