The gross value of all agricultural production in Napa County was $665,298,100 in 2012, an increase of $234,794,600 from the previous year, according to the 2012 Napa County Agricultural Crop Report. Agricultural Commissioner Dave Whitmer presented the completed report to the Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting today. The 54.54 percent increase in gross value was primarily due to the increase in the wine grape tonnage crushed.
Wine Grape Production
The total value of the 2012 wine grape crop was $656,236,100, up 54.98 percent, or $232,794,200, from the previous year, and 45.3 percent, or $204,582,200, higher than the previous 10-year average of $451,653,900. Total wine grape production for 2012 increased by 60,987 tons, or 50 percent. The total wine grape tonnage for the 2012 crop (182,859 tons from 43,207 bearing acres) was 31.96 percent higher than the previous 10-year average of 138,573 tons. The average price paid per ton for all wine grapes was $3,589. In 2012, the highest average price paid for any Napa County wine grape variety was $5,083 per ton for Cabernet Franc. There were 1,126 bearing acres of Cabernet Franc in 2012.
Top Wine Grape Varieties
In the past several years, the top three varieties in bearing acres planted have been Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. In 2012, approximately 71,470 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested and sold at an average price of $5,060 per ton. Chardonnay (6,705 acres) exceeded Merlot (5,458 acres) by 1,247 bearing acres, but Merlot sold at $295 more per ton on average. Merlot production was 25,327 tons, valued at an average of $2,649 per ton. Chardonnay production of 31,933 tons was valued on average at $2,354 per ton. These three varieties together accounted for more than 70 percent (128,730 tons) of all production and almost 77 percent ($503,901,200) of the total wine grape value.
Value of Other Crops and Livestock
Olive production increased $597,200, primarily due to the alternate bearing nature of olive trees. Vegetable production increased by $3,700 from the previous year. Floral and nursery production increased in value by $770,700. The value for Field Crops increased $194,800. Livestock had a decrease of $197,100.
Pest Exclusion Activities
This was the County’s third consecutive year working cooperatively with industry to reduce the population of European Grapevine Moth. This effort received the Administrator’s Award given by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA, for an exceptional cooperative effort in preventing the establishment of EGVM in Napa County. County staff was busy in 2012, surveying for all life stages of the Glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS). More than 2,000 plant shipments were inspected with no GWSS finds and no shipments were rejected. Out-of-state nursery shipments, inspection of household goods for gypsy moth, and other “high-hazard” shipment inspections continued to be a priority for inspectors. We again used a canine dog team occasionally to “sniff out” contraband and prevent it from entering the county through common carriers.
Organic Farming Statistics
The number of certified organic farms fell slightly to 146. In 2012, the organic wine grape production acreage increased by 496. These statistics do not include the many vineyards that used organic practices that would qualify for organic certification, but whose owners did not choose official certification.
About the Report
The 2012 report cover art was created by Vintage High School junior Haley Kastner. Her work, titled “Sleeping Vines,” is a soft pastel drawing. Miss Kastner was the winner of the ninth annual Crop Report Cover Art Contest. The report also highlights the retirement of key department employee Lance Bingham, as well as highlighting the direct and indirect impacts of the agriculture industry in Napa County.
The Ag Commissioner’s office partners with Napa County Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in Classroom program on the annual cover art contest, to engage student participation in the contest and promote agricultural awareness. First-prize winner Haley received a monetary prize of $250 for her drawing. Haley placed second in the 2011 Crop Report Artwork Contest.
The second prize went to Trevor Hardee, a sophomore at New Technology High School. Trevor received a monetary prize of $150 for his photo entitled “Grapes of Fall.” The third prize winner is Melanie Gouveia, a senior at St. Helena High School. She received a monetary prize of $100 for her watercolor entitled “Vineyards of the Valley.” Both second and third place entries are displayed inside the front cover of the Crop Report.
You can read the report online at www.countyofnapa.org/Agcom/2012CropCover/. Hard copies are available at each of the branches of the County library or at the Agricultural Commissioner’s office at 1710 Soscol Ave. in Napa.
The Board of Supervisors and staff of Napa County are dedicated to preserving and sustaining Napa County for present and future generations as a community with generous open space, a thriving agricultural industry and a quality human and natural environment. Visit us on the Web at www.countyofnapa.org.