I think it is safe to say no one will forget the 2020 Vintage. The wine grape market was already struggling for the third year in a row and then a pandemic, wildfires, and economic uncertainty hit us all at once. We saw a large shift from on-premises sales to largely people purchasing wines from the grocery store and online. Both the Central Coast and North Coast were largely impacted by the wildfires and smoke taint in the wine grapes. This caused a few things to immediately occur once these fires were burning out of control. One major effect was large wine companies immediately started rejecting 2020 wine grapes and purchasing 2019 bulk wine to fulfill their program requirements. This created a quick correction in the bulk wine market that was struggling with below average prices. Another interesting effect was what to do with the tainted wine grapes? Some were harvested for Brandy, other wineries took the risk of harvesting and making wine from these potentially compromised grapes and placing the wine into Brandy or Bourbon barrels. However, a large majority of the wine grapes were rejected and left to hang on the vine. This benefited some areas such as Lodi, which was less effected by the smoke taint and led to more contracts being signed to purchase these grapes. Overall, I feel that the wine grape and bulk wine market are in a strong recovery stage. Bulk wine prices are continuing to improve, and the 2020 wine grape harvest was considered a light crop because of the fires and the continual removal of vineyards, which in return will push the wine grape prices closer to District average.

I am optimistic that people are going to continue to purchase and drink more wine, in both good and bad times. The wine grape industry has always been resilient and ready to take on new challenges. At Agajanian, we are looking forward to the new year and the opportunities it holds not only for the company but the industry as well. We have an extensive list of premium bulk wine for our clients who are interested in replacing any wine lost due to the fires, rejections, or program shortages within their wineries. Please reach out to me at pfrazier@agajaninan.com or one of our offices to inquire about bulk wine, wine grapes and anything else we can offer you in 2021.

Patrick Frazier
Territory Sales Representative
Agajanian Vineyards
(805) 792-2718