California is likely to have its third consecutive harvest of reduced volumes, although the differences between wine regions are considerable. Outside California, the main growing regions in Washington State had made a positive crop forecast of 230,000 tonnes, which would be the second highest crop yield ever.
In northern California, the vegetation period had started with ideal weather conditions before the heat wave at the end of August triggered a yield-reducing effect. The harvest dates varied from area to area. In the Lodi and Sierra Foothills areas, late frosts caused dramatic losses.
According to Paul Molleman, director of the European branch of the California Wine Institute, slightly below-average yields are expected for California as a whole. According to him, the numerous forest and bush fires during the dry hot summer should not have affected quality and yields.
The international vine and wine organisation (OIV) forecasts a harvest of about 23.1 mill. hl for the entire USA, which would be 4 percent below the previous year and 6 percent below the five-year average. (VM)