Central Valley Insights

We are just finishing up the third week of June and it is definitely feeling like summer in California’s Central Valley. We ended this last week with highs of 111 degrees over the past few days and it is a hot reminder that the beginning of harvest is just a few months away. Overall many varietals in the Central Valley are looking like a normal size crop, now that bloom and fruit set have finished up. The berry growth is looking good and overall vine canopies have developed nicely. The big issue that we are facing as the growing season progresses is our steady supply of irrigation water. Early estimates projected that Agriculture producers south of the Delta would receive up to 5% of growers contractually allocated water from the CVP. However, many irrigation districts throughout the valley are not allocating water to growers until further notice, if at all. This coupled with the present drought conditions we are facing throughout the state continues to have many growers concerned with water needs for the rest of the summer and into harvest.

On the wine side, many wine brands had chosen to source California AVA bulk wines to help fill their wine programs in lieu of producing 2020 coastal wines with the higher chance of smoke taint issues. This caused a surge in Central Valley grape demand from the end of last harvest through the spring of 2021 with majority of Central Valley grapes currently contracted out. Many Central Valley growers who had removed old vineyards over the past few years and didn’t replant with almonds, are now interested in long term grape planting agreements for the future. Give me a call if your winery is looking for long term Central Valley grape sourcing.

Some of the wineries that didn’t reach out early in the year for Central Valley white and red varietals are finding it difficult to source fruit in substantial quantities. Also, some wineries that in the past wouldn’t have looked for lesser white blenders have gained interest in the old staple, Thompson Seedless, to help fill their larger white blend programs. Likewise, many raisin growers who haven’t ripped out their Thompson vineyards are looking to move their grapes on the green market this year as raisin pricing is still up for debate. I still have a few vineyards with red blend varietals available, so feel free to contact me with any inquires. You can reach me at (559) 355-3531 (cell), (559) 448-0558 (office) or at sarkis@agajanian.com for any of your wine or grape needs.

Please take a look at our bulk wine and grape availability lists, we have lots of quality bulk wine and grapes still available. Feel free to contact any of the Agajanian staff with inquires on grapes or bulk wine before the busy harvest season starts.

Sarkis Torosian
Central Valley Grower Relations
(559) 355-3531, sarkis@agajanian.com