California wine harvest to fall 12%

California wine harvest to fall 12%

California's wine grape harvest is set to be 12% lower this year, according to the California Wine Institute.

The 2010 harvest is likely to be 3.3m tonnes, 6% lower than the forecast in August and 12% down on 2009, said the Institute, citing estimates from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

A lower harvest should help to relieve pressure on the sector as consumer sentiment in the US has remained subdued.

Sales of domestically-produced wine in the US rose by almost 2% in volume in 2009 to 222.7m nine-litre cases, according to Beverage Information Group figures. California accounts for more than 90% of wine production in the US.

California-based Constellation Brands said last month that it gained confidence on US wine market trends in its fiscal second quarter.

"During the quarter, we experienced improving US wine depletion trends and retail execution despite an uncertain consumer and competitive environment," said Constellation's CEO Rob Sands.