Napa County’s 2016 agricultural production reached a record-breaking value of $737.3 million, with a record-breaking $729.5 million value for grapes leading the way.
Those figures are included in the county’s 2016, grape-centric crop report that County Agricultural Commissioner Greg Clark presented to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Agricultural production value rose 33 percent from 2015. It broke the old record of $720.8 million set in 2014, with wine grape production breaking the old record of $714.8 million, also set in 2014.
“Last year was an exceptional year,” Clark said in an interview.
Weather overall was conducive to a bountiful wine grape harvest, he said. The county received adequate rain during the 2015-16 rain season and had the right conditions at fruit set and harvest.
Garrett Buckland of Premiere Viticultural Services, who is also president of Napa Valley Grapegrowers, sees a reason why non-grape growers have a stake in the grape prices.
“This tells us we can keep Napa County in agriculture, with values this high,” Buckland said in a phone interview. “That’s an extremely important thing for all of us.”
In recent years, grape growers have seen an increased value in price-per-ton for some of the highest-value grapes, such as cabernet sauvignon, he said.
“That reason is really because we grow the best cabernet in the world,” Buckland said. “It’s great to see the numbers actually reflect that.”
Napa County Farm Bureau Executive Director Jesse Ramer also praised the 2016 crop growing year.
“Three-quarters-of-a-billion dollars is an impressive number,” Ramer said.
Total grape tonnage increased 23 percent from 2015 to 153,046 tons. Grape tons-per-acre increased from 2.76 to 3.39. Buckland said that the reason the yield increases appear so dramatic is that 2015 was a lower crop year.
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In 2016, the county had more than 43,000 acres of producing vineyards, which is equivalent to 67 square miles. By comparison, the city of Napa is 18 square miles.
Cabernet sauvignon remained the most plentiful type of grape, with 20,342 acres producing 66,893 tons. Runner-ups were chardonnay at 6,397 acres producing 25,922 tons and merlot at 4,707 acres producing 14,916 tons.
Cabernet franc received the highest price per ton at $7,144, followed by cabernet sauvignon at $6,830 and petit verdot at $6,024. Roussanne had the top price for a white grape at $4,250 per ton, with only 14 acres producing 58 tons. Chardonnay received $2,675 per ton.
On the organic front, registrants for wine grapes fell from 104 to 94, but acreage increased from 3,210 to 3,897, 9 percent of overall grape acreage.
Olives were a distant second behind grapes in crop value, with value rising from $300,300 in 2015 to $456,900. Acreage grew from 140 to 142 and tonnage grew from 280 to 289.
Then there were the county’s other crops. Despite efforts by the Napa County Local Food Advisory Council to have more locally grown food, other crops that could provide this food remained a footnote.
Vegetables fell from 32 acres in 2015 to 26 acres, and production value fell from $367,700 to $294,900.
The crop report blamed the tail end of the drought for the dips. Vegetables included artichokes, eggplants, kohlrabi, lettuce, potatoes and turnips.
Napa County’s category for non-grape and non-olive fruits and nuts includes apples, pears, plums, pluots, strawberries and walnuts. No acreage figures are listed in the crop report, but production value grew from $272,300 to $384,900.
The number of cattle and cows grazed in Napa County grew from 9,100 to 20,480. Value grew from $1.2 million to $2.7 million. Sheep and lambs held steady at 4,390, with value falling from $625,500 to $614,300.
Still another crop report section looked at floral and nursery production, including lavenders, begonias, poinsettias, vegetable starts, cut flowers and trees. Square footage fell from 821,100 to 538,700 and production value from $2.5 million to $2.1 million. Again, the crop report blamed the drought for the dips.
Go to www.countyofnapa.org/AgCom to see a copy of the crop report.