California farmers removing grape vines
January 7, 2014
California farmers are ripping up grape vines and switching to higher yielding crops to cope with an ongoing drought, according to a report by San Rafael wine broker Ciatti Co. [Mercury News]
The report estimates that California vintners will remove 15,000 to 20,000 acres of vines and replace them with crops such as almonds and other tree fruits.
“The coming year in California will be characterized by drought and sustainability,” the report states. “The state is seeing a mass pullout of all low-bearing crops. Farmers have been forced to shift from crop diversification to salvaging crops that will provide them the most long-term sustainability.”
California has a total of 546,000 acres of grape vines. The state produces about 88 percent of U.S. wine at an estimated retail value of $22 billion.
Farmers are currently suffering the third straight year of drought in California, with no significant rainfall one-third of the way into rain season.