According to an article in BARRON’S, published August 3, 1998, "America is headed for a wine glut of
historic proportions." It says further that in the past five years, roughly 100,000 acres of land in
the U.S. have been transformed into vineyards, increasing the nation’s wine-making capacity by 25% or more.
Within the next year or so, BARRON’S says, many of America’s recently planted vines will bear fruit, putting
truck loads upon truckled of new grapes on the market. This, at long last, will put downward pressure on wine
In states, ranging from New York to Oregon to Texas to New Mexico, thousands of acres have been turned over
to grape growing in recent years, the report reveals. But nowhere has the expansion been more rapid than in
California, where vineyards account for nearly 75% of the wine consumed in America. Between 1993 and
the total amount of land planted with grape vines in California soared to 403,800 acres from 326,700 acres,
for a stunning 23% gain. BARRON’S reports further that the increase in California grape harvest could be
even higher than 23% because the newly planted vines are more resistant to the disease phylloxera, and
thus they tend to produce significantly larger crops than older plantings do. The publication also reports
that some evidence of the glut has surfaced already. California’s grape harvest in 1997 was the largest on
record, at a stunning 3.9 million tons. That’s 33% above the 1996 harvest and 25% above the prior record,
set in 1982. The abundant 1997 harvest was called one of "the first real indications of the increasing
acreage base" by the Allied Press, a newsletter put out by Bedwell’s Allied Grape Growers Cooperative.
BARRON’S reports that retail prices will drop the fastest in the category of wines under $10, but even $10-$20 and
$20-$30 wines are going to be hit by falling prices, and hit perhaps a lot harder than many winemakers anticipate.