AGG's 2015 San Joaquin Valley (SJV) bunch count summary is contained in the first table below. The second table shows the percent change from 2014. For each of the major varieties we have numerous sample ranches, and each ranch has numerous vines we sample. This bunch count summary includes the San Joaquin Valley from Lodi to Bakersfield and, where applicable, is broken into regions as described below. Allied does not do bunch counts in the coastal regions due to the fact that most growers adjust their crop load significantly in those regions throughout the growing season to meet winery expectations for cropload and quality. For some of the varieties in certain districts we have entered "N/A". This means that either there are little to no grapes of that variety grown in that district or the data we gathered was categorized and presented in an alternative category.

The following are average bunch counts per vine taken from various vineyards in 2015.
2015 Allied Grape Growers Bunch Count Averages
All & South North Lodi
White Varieties SJV SJV SJV Area
Chardonnay 73.1 82.8 60.3 65.2
French Colombard 107.1 N/A N/A N/A
Muscat of Alexander N/A 82.1 N/A N/A
Pinot Grigio 67.7 N/A N/A N/A
Thompson Seedless N/A 35.9 N/A N/A
Red Varieties
Barbera N/A 83.1 N/A N/A
Cabernet Sauvignon 94.9 87.6 106.3 93.8
Carignane 74.1 N/A N/A N/A
Grenache 67.6 N/A N/A N/A
Merlot 86.7 93.3 86.8 78.3
Petite Sirah 38.0 N/A N/A N/A
Rubired N/A 144.6 N/A N/A
Ruby Cabernet 107.1 N/A N/A N/A
Syrah 90.2 N/A N/A N/A
Zinfandel (White/On wire) 71.6 79.8 64.8 51.5
Zinfandel (Head trained) N/A N/A N/A 46.6
2015 Allied Grape Growers Bunch Count % Change from 2014
All & South North Lodi
White Varieties SJV SJV SJV Area
Chardonnay 0.3% -3.4% 1.3% 12.4%
French Colombard 5.9% N/A N/A N/A
Muscat of Alexander N/A 12.6% N/A N/A
Pinot Grigio 2.4% N/A N/A N/A
Thompson Seedless N/A 7.5% N/A N/A
Red Varieties
Barbera N/A 23.3% N/A N/A
Cabernet Sauvignon -5.9% -12.1% -4.1% 0.1%
Carignane 14.9% N/A N/A N/A
Grenache -6.5% N/A N/A N/A
Merlot 8.9% 23.9% -11.9% 14.6%
Petite Sirah -19.1% N/A N/A N/A
Rubired N/A 6.5% N/A N/A
Ruby Cabernet 7.7% N/A N/A N/A
Syrah 4.5% N/A N/A N/A
Zinfandel (White/On wire) 4.8% -0.3% 21.3% 5.5%
Zinfandel (Head trained) N/A N/A N/A 4.0%

The summary data included herein represents average bunch counts for the San Joaquin Valley from District 11 (Lodi) to District 14 (Kern County). As a general statement, most varieties show slightly more clusters than last year. Overall, we believe the crop looks similar in size to last year and can probably be classified as “about average.” With the exception of a few varieties that experienced light crops last year and bounced back with double digit percentage increases in bunch counts, our counts were mostly up by only single digit percentages. The exceptions to this were Muscat of Alexander (up by over 12%), Barbera (up an impressive 23%), and Carignane (up about 15%). As for the major varietals, none were up more than just a few percent. In fact, Chardonnay, the largest single variety produced in terms of tonnage, was almost exactly identical to last year (which produced a lighter crop than in the two prior vintages). The real wildcard continues to be the lack of water from the natural and political drought. As we speak to most crop analysts, no one is expecting it to be an above crop in terms of yield. Most folks continue to reference the “unknown” - the presumably negative affect of the chronic drought. But even in light of bunch counts that don’t point toward obviously large or small crop size for 2015, we still have to keep in mind that with the winegrape acreage in the ground today, a four million ton winegrape crop can still be easily achieved. Although significant bearing acreage has been removed, a commensurate amount is probably producing for the first time this year. Most people, recognizing how light the Lodi area turned out to be last year in crop size, have higher hopes for increased production from that region this year - more so than any other area of the San Joaquin Valley. When looking specifically at our Lodi bunch counts, Chardonnay (+12%) and Merlot (+14%) do show double digit percentage increases over last year, but Cabernet Sauvignon counts indicate no growth, Pinot Grigio indicates minimal difference and Zinfandel only indicates 4-5% higher bunch counts than in 2014. As far as other varieties are concerned valley-wide, French Colombard shows slightly up, but it isn’t off too much from last year. Pinot Grigio appears similar to last year, which ended up as a light crop for that variety. The Zin crop also looks similar (only up slightly) to last year, which was certainly on the lighter side. Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Petite Sirah actually show decreased counts from last years “less than average” crops. Merlot indicates about 9% more bunches while Rubired and Ruby Cabernet also show just slightly more clusters at 6.5% and 7.7% increases, respectively. Syrah, following last year’s lighter crop, was up in counts only 4.5% and similar to that which was mentioned above for Lodi, Zinfandel for the entire interior only showed about a 5% increase in counts over last year. In 2014 almost every variety we surveyed was off by double digit percentages from 2013’s counts, and none other than the few varieties listed above rebounded from the fall of 2014. Lastly, The Thompson Seedless bunch count is only slightly larger than last year at an average of 35.9 bunches per vine. Last year’s crop size turned out to be one of the smallest Thompson Seedless crops on record. An analysis of historical Thompson Seedless bunch count data combined with annual yields points to a 2015 crop that could be anywhere between 7.7 and 11.3 green tons per acre overall, but is most likely to be near the historical average of about +/-9 tons per acre, as the bunches we see are not developing to be large in size. Overall, most in the industry agree we don’t need an above average crop of any grapes (except maybe Pinot Grigio). At this point it doesn’t look like we have it based on bunch counts, but we do have many new acres continuing to come into production statewide and tanks that are relatively full at the lower end of the market from slower wine shipments, recent record breaking crops and cheap imports. Another year of yields that are on the “lighter side” sure wouldn’t hurt us in the marketplace.

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