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Bumper California harvest down on 2009

California's 2010 grape harvest was down 3% on 2009's figure, but was still the third biggest crop in history, according to official estimates.

The 3.58m ton harvest was bigger than most industry observers had expected, but still fell below 2009 and 2005’s record, state authorities said this week.

Brian Clements, vice president of Turrentine Brokerage, said the lighter crop of Central Valley Chardonnay in particular was good news for the industry, helping to banish fears of continued oversupply.

However, a shortage of value-priced Cabernet Sauvignon could be on the cards, following a 1m-case shortfall in the 2010 harvest and amid fast-growing sales.

But Turrentine president Steve Fredricks said the overall position for the industry was satisfactory.

‘Many brands have successfully pared inventories down and are now in need of wine to satisfy growing sales,’ he added.

‘Wine consumption continued to grow through the recession, but some consumers “traded down” to less expensive wines.

‘We’re starting to see those consumers trade back up – which is good news for wineries and growers.’

Written by Richard Woodard

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