It might be harder to count on your favorite California Cab in the near future: Growers and winemakers in California estimate that the state's 2008 grape crop could be 20 percent smaller than last year, according to the LA Times.
The threat is especially prominent in prime wine regions such as Napa and Sonoma counties.
Why fewer grapes?
The weather of course. The article says that wine-growing regions experienced heavy winter rains in January and February followed by an unusually dry spring with a heavy frost. Then came a June heat wave with lightning storms that set off brush fires statewide.
Grower Andy Beckstoffer is quoted: "This is one of the strangest weather patterns that I have seen in more than 30 years of farming."
He adds that there probably won't be enough grapes to meet all the needs of wineries.
Rob McMillan, who heads the wine industry lending business at Silicon Valley Bank, is also cited in the article. He predicts a grape shortage not only due to this year's smaller crop, but also because demand for California wine is growing faster than vineyard plantings.
McMillan says the shortage could mean fewer bargains on wine shelves at stores.
In other words, drink up now.
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