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Turrentine Harvest Update

September 16, 2014

Turrentine Harvest Update: September 16th, 2014

North Coast: Mike Needham & Alicia Kump

  • Sparkling: Started in Napa Valley at the end of July, which is earlier than last year by 10 to 14 days.  Yields vary depending on region from light to average.


  • Overall crop yields appear to be similar to 2013 or above estimates.
  • Sauvignon Blanc is almost done, yields above estimates.
  • Napa Valley Chardonnay, yields picking out above estimates.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon clusters appear to be sizing nicely. Most brix are in the low 20’s currently.


  • Overall, yields have been inconsistent for varieties already picked.  Some growers who had large 2012 and 2013 are under estimate if they didn’t water enough or fertilize.  Those who irrigated regularly and fertilized have similar yields to 2013 or just below.
  • Pinot Noir crop appears to have more clusters than last year but smaller cluster and berry size. Pinot Noir is about 15-20% picked.
  • Chardonnay vineyards located in cooler areas such as Russian River and Sonoma Coast are about 5% picked.
  • Wineries have started picking Chardonnay in Dry Creek and Alexander Valley; yields have been inconsistent.
  • Wineries have scheduled Merlot and other red blenders to be picked, which is about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than 2013.
  • Mildew pressure has been high in Sonoma County during the summer months. Mildew has been an issue for certain varieties (Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Merlot) if growers weren’t regular on their spray programs.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon clusters look good, Brix are around 21-22 degrees in Sonoma County.


  • Overall, Mendocino County is picking out 10-25% lighter than 2013 on all varieties so far.
  • Chardonnay has been picking out lighter than expectations.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon harvest is underway and crop size is slightly below expectations.

Lake County

  • Sauvignon Blanc yields looked lighter than expectations.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon yields are same as 2013 for the amount that has been picked so far.

Monterey/San Benito County: Erica Moyer

  • Monterey Pinot Noir harvest has begun, 2 weeks ahead of 2013.  Quality and Yields look great!
  • Chardonnay harvest should begin in a week in Monterey; yields expected to be average to average plus.
  • Chardonnay and Pinot Noir yields are below 2013 in San Benito County.

Lodi/Delta: Erica Moyer

  • Chardonnay and Pinot Noir harvest is wrapping up. Yields were up for the Delta and down in Lodi, for the most part.
  • Zinfandel is half the crop as last year.
  • Merlot, same yields as 2013.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon harvest has started.  Expected yields are down from projection, mostly older vineyards, where some young vineyards are picking out at to above estimates.

Central Valley: Erica Moyer

  • Rubired, normally harvested in October is being harvested in September.
  • Overall, yields are down 20-50% on all varieties from 2013 due to water and heat stress in parts of the Central-Southern Interior.
  • Stanislaus-Merced County yields are average, with some above average yields for Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir.
  • Young blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon yields are expected to be at estimate or above.

San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County: Audra Cooper

  • Chardonnay yields in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County are close to estimates.
  • Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County has once again produced a larger than average crop and once again could be hovering around a historical high, harvest is likely to be done in 10-14 days.
  • Merlot yields in Paso Robles vary from below average to average. Merlot continues to be harvested in Paso Robles and will likely be closing in on 50% completion by next week.
  • Overall, the numbers of clusters are there for a large crop but the cluster weights are not.

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Turrentine is Hiring!

September 2, 2014

Turrentine Brokerage is looking for a stellar performer to join our high-performance Bulk Wine Team.  This is a great opportunity for someone who enjoys building profitable, long-term relationships with key players in the supply side of the wine business. The right candidate will have great people skills, lots of wine business knowledge, attention to detail and a willingness to always put the client’s interest first.  If you or someone you know may be the right person for this exciting position at the heart of wine business trends, send an email to: Steve@turrentinebrokerage.com. All inquiries are held in the strictest confidence.

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Turrentine in the News: North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

August 22, 2014

Brian Clements, Vice President here at Turrentine Brokerage has posted his latest article, titled “Purchases of North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon active as harvest begins” for the North Bay Business Journal. To read the entire article, please click on the link below.



(Article originally published Monday, August 18, 2014)

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Turrentine Perspective on the Total Crush Projection

August 18, 2014

Written by Steve Fredricks, President
Turrentine Brokerage

On August 14th, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released their 2014 crop estimate for wine grapes of 3.9 million tons, down 8% from 2013. However, intelligent supply decisions cannot be made using the projection because the crush will not be 8% down on every variety in every region. An excess of French Colombard from Merced cannot substitute for a shortage of Cabernet Sauvignon in Lake County, so why should the industry pay attention to the total tons crushed projection?  The NASS is diligent in researching these numbers, but the number needs to be put in perspective. Overall statewide total tons are the combination of roughly 120 different varieties planted across 17 districts with differing vine spacing, trellis systems, viticultural practices, weather patterns, and most importantly this year, access to water. Varietal based projections and market information for the regions (including competing regions) that are vital to your business are exceptionally more valuable.

Turrentine Brokerage has been advising clients on specific market dynamics for over 40 years. Our reputable market analyses in publications and public speaking focuses on both the short and long-term market dynamics of specific varieties in various regions throughout California.

Potentially increasing the overall crop size for 2014; newly bearing acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat varieties continue to produce more fruit in the San Joaquin Valley as they mature as well as fruit from newly bearing acres of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir in Sonoma and Monterey Counties.  In Sonoma County, the Pinot Noir crop has also benefited by converting from cordon to cane pruning, which has stabilized and improved yields and formed a line of defense against various diseases, such as Eutypa. In Napa Valley the early results on Chardonnay picked for sparkling wine are above estimates.  Projections for Chardonnay yields in Sonoma County and Monterey County remain optimistic.  The weather is also currently mild, which may aid in cluster weights.

Potentially decreasing the overall crop size for 2014, a warmer earlier growing season has impacted the yields on early season varieties. The impact of drought has placed downward pressure on yields in many parts of California, most specifically the Southern San Joaquin Valley and the Paso Robles regions.  Other regions have escaped major impacts from lack of water, so far.  Even in the most drought impacted regions water management has been varied: for example, some growers chose to water their highest value varieties while others left land fallow in order to irrigate established vines and trees.  Reports from some early harvesting in the south San Joaquin Valley were of a 50% reduction in yields on fields not irrigated and a 15% to 20% reduction in yields on the fields irrigated normally.  The outcome of varied water management choices makes it even more challenging to assess what the overall wine grape supply will be.   The disease pressure has been more severe in parts of the San Joaquin Valley and some regions of the North Coast resulting in a few rejections at wineries in the San Joaquin Valley.

Individual specifics for the crush this year are too numerous and varied to write in a single update and are going to be changing weekly as harvest progresses.    Turrentine brokers are talking to clients and walking vineyards every day, discussing the progress of harvest and analyzing the effects of supply on the market for grapes and bulk wine.  Call your Turrentine Broker to discuss the specific market conditions and how the upcoming harvest will affect the varieties and regions vital to your company.

For more information on the current bulk wine and grape market, click here.

Steve Fredricks Turrentine Brokerage.compressed

Steve Fredricks, President


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Turrentine in the News: Wine Industry Network

August 4, 2014

Wine Industry Network recently endorsed Turrentine Brokerage in their Supplier Spotlight. To read the entire feature, please click on the link below.



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Turentine + UC Davis

July 10, 2014

UC Davis Extension and the Department of Viticulture and Enology is hosting their annual OIV Wine Marketing Program. Michael Robichaud, Bulk Broker here at Turrentine Brokerage, will be presenting at the Grape Supply & Economics of Production seminar.davis This two-week program focuses on the economics of production and marketing grapes and wine in the United States.
For program details, click HERE.

Michael Robichaud

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Turrentine in the News: Forecasts Shortage of Sonoma Cab

June 18, 2014

Steve Fredricks, President here at Turrentine Brokerage was recently interviewed by Paul Franson of Wines & Vines. Steve discusses the latest publication of the Turrentine Outlook in an article entitled, “Turrentine Forecasts Shortage of Sonoma Cab”. (Article originally posted June 16, 2014). To read the article please click here.


Steve Fredricks Turrentine Brokerage.compressed

Steve Fredricks, President



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Turrentine On The Road: Vineyard Economics Seminar

May 12, 2014

Understanding the balance of supply to demand of specific varietals and appellations are vital to successful short and long-term planning.  Steve Fredricks and Mike Needham of Turrentine Brokerage will be presenting a selection of Turrentine’s proprietary market research at the Vineyard Economics Seminar.  There will be an overview of the domestic and international wine markets to update the balance of supply for grapes and bulk wine.  Turrentine will also provide an update of how wineries in California are navigating the uncertainty of vintage 2014 with statewide drought concerns.

Steve Fredricks Turrentine Brokerage.compressed

Steve Fredricks

Vineyard Economics Seminar
May 14th, 2014


For more information about the Vineyard Economics Seminar, please click the link below.



Mike Needham

Mike Needham




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Turrentine in the News: California Wine Grape Crop

May 8, 2014

Brian Clements, Vice President here at Turrentine Brokerage was quoted in an article published by Western Farm Press entitled ‘Cluster Counts favor good size California wine grape crop’’, written by Greg Northcutt. To read the article, please click the link below.

Western Farm Press

(Article originally published Wednesday, May 7, 2014)

Brian 3.small

Brian Clements


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ProWein Trade Fair

April 23, 2014

ProWein Trade Fair Overview
By Marc Cuneo

ProWein in Dusseldorf, Germany continues to grow and become the preeminent gathering of wine producers and industry trade for the world market.  A couple of changes that were recognizable this year compared to last year were the greater attendance among all producers all various regions. Even more impressive, was the growth of the California wine producers that were in attendance.

We were able to have key meetings with our partner brokers from Europe, South America, Australian and producers that we have worked with in the past.  Here are some of the highlights from those meetings:

  • Chile – Larger bulk wine volumes going into the 2014 harvest put downward pressure on price for Cabernet Sauvignon and other red wines. Also, some sellers were motivated to move wines for space prior to harvest.  Due to frost the 2014 Harvest has been a challenge for yields for Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay being 20-25% down over past years.  Cabernet Sauvignon yields have also been down 15% to 20% vs typical yields.  The lower yields have stimulated some market activity and as a result prices have climbed from the pre-harvest pricing set a few months ago.
  • Argentina – Currently going through a challenging harvest with both rain and hail affecting the crops.  There are some concerns about reaching ideal ripening.  Producers have larger volumes of dry red and generic varietals which they are more motivated to sell.
  • Australia:  The 2014 crop was ok on volume and our broker partners felt the balance of demand to supply meant that the market would be steady for the 2014 wines.
  • Spain – Large volumes of 2013 dry red and dry white are available.  This is primarily due to the fact that the 2013 harvest was larger than the lighter than average 2011 and 2012 harvests.  Base quality Spanish bulk wine has been able to compete on price, however some of the wine has been quality challenged.
  • France and Italy – Both have fairly balanced inventories of bulk and are focusing on growth in higher price-points and quality levels for bottle goods for export.
  • New trends – There was a lot of discussion on the growth in the low alcohol table wine category.  This includes wines that would be under 10% alcohol.  Another talking point was the value price point for wines that can claim to be organically grown.

In general, there was a feeling of confidence from most sellers throughout the world.  Producers feel they will be able to sell bulk and bottled products for sustainable prices going into the 2014 calendar year.  Questions and concerns were raised about the expected size of the 2014 California harvest as well as the opportunity for continued growth amongst U.S. wine consumers.

Overall, it was a great experience to attend the ProWein conference. If you have any further questions regarding our travels abroad, please give us a call.

Marc Cuneo

Marc Cuneo

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