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Second Consecutive Record Winegrape Harvest, Experts Explain Market Impacts

NOVATO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 02/10/14 -- The California Department of Food and Agriculture's Preliminary Grape Crush Report for 2013 has been released. It is a critical barometer for the wine and grape industry, containing prices and tons of wine grapes crushed during the 2013 harvest. The Crush Report provides growers and wineries insight into the inventory position for the California wine business as a whole, and influences market dynamics for the current bulk wine market as well as the upcoming 2014 harvest.

Typically, the Crush Report is a fantastic opportunity for buyers and sellers alike to reflect on the past year, assess supply and demand, and develop a strategy moving forward. This year, however, there weren't any major surprises and wineries and growers are keeping their eyes focused on the road ahead to plan strategically for 2014 not knowing the full extent of drought on crop size.

The Crush Report shows that the total 2013 California wine grape crop weighed in at 4.23 million tons. Similar to 2012, the 2013 growing season was nearly ideal throughout the state, allowing for increased yields per acre. This was especially true in the North Coast, in particular, Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In the Northern Interior, Zinfandel grapes continue to transition from blush wine to red wine. Paso Robles and the Southern Interior suffered from extreme heat which limited production for early varieties like Pinot Grigio. This record harvest stretched capacity to its fullest, putting downward pressure on prices for late season grapes and on some early bulk market sales.

About Turrentine Brokerage
Turrentine Brokerage, founded in 1973, serves as trusted and strategic advisors to growers, wineries, and financiers and specializes in the strategic sourcing of wine grapes and bulk wine from the major growing areas across the globe. Working with thousands of wineries worldwide, and with over 2,000 growers, this experienced team has negotiated transactions between buyers and sellers valued at more than $2 billion over the past decade.

Turrentine Brokerage is available to provide comment and analysis on this report and its probable impact on growers, wineries and consumers. Turrentine Brokerage will have its experienced team of grape and wine brokers and analysts available all day Monday, February 10th and throughout the week for comment and questions.

Key Insights by Region

"For the second consecutive year, California produced record tonnage for winegrapes, weighing in at 4.23 million tons -- the equivalent of 740 million gallons. However, the specific tonnage by varietal in each region is more important. For example, 50% of the increase over last year's total is attributed to Muscat varieties from the southern San Joaquin Valley." -Steve Fredricks

"Typically, the Crush Report is a fantastic opportunity for buyers and sellers alike to reflect on the past year, assess supply and demand, and develop a strategy moving forward. This year, however, there weren't any major surprises and industry drivers are keeping their eyes focused on the road ahead to strategically avoid the obstacles which 2014 could present, namely the drought." -Brian Clements

Napa Valley
"Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, while setting a district record for crop value, did not sacrifice on quality. A long, moderate growing season allowed grapes to continue to size right up until harvest." -Mike Needham

"As expected, another record price for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was reached in 2013. The crop value was up 7% and reached an average price of $5,423 per ton." -Mike Needham

"As a region, Napa Valley had a great season. Both growers and wineries were blessed with high quality grapes and growers were blessed with increasing prices being paid from the previous year." -Mike Needham

"The total Chardonnay crop, up 3% from 2012 and 17% above the five-year average, finally broke the all-time record set in 2005. Cabernet Sauvignon, on the other hand, was up 5% from 2012 and 25% above the five-year average, fell 20,000 tons short of the all-time record set in 2005. Chardonnay was actually flat or down a little in the Interior regions and up in the North and Central Coast; Cabernet Sauvignon was up in all major regions, except -- ironically -- Napa Valley and Sonoma County, where demand continues to be strong." -Brian Clements

Sonoma County
"History tells us that when we have two large harvests in a row, the markets soften. In 2013, and moving into 2014, activity has remained relatively strong." -Brian Clements

"We can say that Cabernet Sauvignon is almost 'bullet proof'. Although Sonoma County tons crushed dropped to 43,730 tons, it is still the 3rd largest crop in history and the grape market will continue to be strong for 2014." -Brian Clements

"2013 Chardonnay was 8% larger than 2012 in Sonoma County. Despite two large harvests, wineries are continuing to look for additional supply on the bulk and grape market." -Mike Needham

"Wineries and growers experienced another record crop from Sonoma County Pinot Noir, up 3% from 2012. At the same time, we saw district average price rise 4% to the second highest ever paid at $3,095 per ton. What is good news for wineries and consumers is that the volume comes when needed and the wines are exceptional." -Brian Clements

"2013 Pinot Noir was the second large crop in a row for Sonoma County, which is good news for wineries and growers to help satisfy the consumers growing demand for high quality Pinot Noir." -Mike Needham

North Coast
"The coastal regions of California helped produce a second record crop without sacrificing quality. This couldn't have come at a better time with retail sales above $10.00 showing very strong growth." -Brian Clements

Central Coast
"The regions of the Central Coast of California produced a second record crop without sacrificing quality. This couldn't have come at a better time with retail sales above $10.00 showing very strong growth." -Audra Cooper

"As expected, and despite the lack of rainfall, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon crop in District 8, primarily Paso Robles, was slightly larger than last year. For the third year in a row the district average price increased, hitting a record high this century of $1,356 per ton." -Audra Cooper

"2013 was a good year all around for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. Increased yields helped set a District 8 record for tons crushed without sacrificing quality and yet the district average price remains relatively unchanged. This increased supply is great for the Central Coast to help satisfy growing consumer demand for high quality Pinot Noir." -Audra Cooper

"Increases in Cabernet Sauvignon production from California's Central Valley were from new acres planted in the last few years and new acres coming into full production, which is welcome news as consumer demand continues to grow at a healthy rate above $9 per bottle." -Erica Moyer

"Monterey experienced a perfect summer season resulting in the second largest crop for Chardonnay and a record crop for Pinot Noir." -Erica Moyer

"Prices for the Interior came off the peak from 2012, except for Pinot Grigio. Most notably, prices were down for Lodi Zinfandel and Lodi Merlot, down 13% and 8%, respectively. This is due to tonnage in excess of the contract selling at half or less of the contracted price, unlike 2012, when all tonnage, including excess tons were purchased at contracted prices." -Erica Moyer

"Pinot Grigio production was down 9% at a time when Pinot Grigio consumer demand is continuing to grow at a healthy rate. Most likely, production was down to extended heat in the southern interior." -Erica Moyer

Brian Clements
Vice President
(707) 495-8151
Grapes throughout CA, especially Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino & Lake Counties

Steve Fredricks
(415) 847-0603
Grapes and bulk wine throughout CA and global import/export

Erica Moyer
Grape Broker
(209) 988-7334
Grapes from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys

Audra Cooper
Grape Broker
(805) 400-9930
Grapes from the Central Coast

Mike Needham
Grape Broker
(707) 849-4337
Grapes from the North Coast

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