California grape harvest drops again

In a California vineyard.
The California grape harvest this year was 3.3 million tons, 9% below the 2010 crop, according to a report just released by the California Department of Food & Agriculture.

That decline is attributed to a second year of a wet spring and unseasonably cool temperatures. And the 2010 harvest wasn't any great shakes compared to the 3.7 million ton harvest of 2009.

This year, many grapes were picked at lower sugar levels, so the alcohol content for wines is likely to be on the moderate side. Higher acids are predicted.

"Surprisingly enough, the quality came out pretty good," Victor Alvarez, owner of Miraflores Winery in El Dorado County, told the Sacramento Bee.

"We lost 40% to 50% of the whites, but fortunately the end of the season was very mild and there was only one rain, which didn't affect things. Everything was well matured and balanced, but the acidity is a little high. The cabernet and zinfandel is looking excellent."

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