Vine Shortage Strikes California

Troubles worsen as short vine supply threatens to increase wine prices

The grape shortage in California predicted not too long ago may get worse before it gets any better.

With excess grapes gone, California wineries are scrambling to procure new vines, but the state’s vine nurseries do not have enough vines to meet the demand, according to

Representatives of Sunridge Nurseries, one of California’s largest vine nurseries, told that many nurseries are simply sold out of some of the vines, including clones of chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon.

Producers have relied on selling their excess inventories from 1990s vineyard planting to make due during the recession. With these inventories now depleted and the limited supply of fresh vines, consumers may have to cover the wineries’ costs.


“At least insofar as the Napa Valley is concerned, we’ve already seen rising prices due to short vintages in 2010 and 2011,’ said Michael Honig, owner of Honig Vineyard and Winery in Rutherford. ‘Now with demand picking up and new vines in short supply, prices are also going up.

“‘We’re not likely to see changes due to the vine shortage for another two or three years, but the basic laws of supply and demand apply,’ Honig added. ‘Prices will go up. Are people still gonna be able to buy California wines? Yes. But instead of 'two buck chuck,' it’ll more likely be 'five buck chuck.'’”

— Wayne Stainrook, Snooth