Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Are California grapegrowers getting too cocky?
The reason is that after two years of weather-related small crops, there's finally an end to the surplus of wine that has driven economic conditions in the California wine industry since the record-setting huge crop of 2005. Wine grapes are in short supply, so growers can finally make demands, especially if they're not under contract, but according to this winemaker, even if they are.
I asked for details and he didn't want to give them because he was terrified of being identified. If grapes are hard to buy now, how much harder would it be for somebody who complains about arrogant growers?
To be fair, grape growers always do most of the work in making fine wine, bear most of the risk, and get little of the credit. There has long been tension between what winemakers and growers want: crop size, harvest date, ripeness, etc. For the past few years, winemakers have held the cards, and growers -- being farmers -- generally didn't complain about them. So please don't see this post as some sort of anti-grower screed: it's not.
I just want to know what it's like out there. Winemakers: are growers getting too cocky this year? Growers: Are winemakers the overly demanding ones? Both sides: Is this year very different from the last seven?
I have turned anonymous comments back on to try to get a feel for the situation. Feel free to use anonymity. Please identify what your role in the industry is, but if you don't give a name, nobody can trace it back to you, and I give you my word as a journalist that I'm not going to try. No insults, please: Just tell us what the grower-winemaker climate is like now. Thanks.
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Posted by W. Blake Gray at 6:30 AM