Napa Valley Vintners Report on Harvest 2008

Climate Discussion, Green Initiatives and Economic Study Add to Report


10/21/2008 - San Francisco, CA - The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association representing 330 Napa Valley wineries reported on the 2008 harvest today from the Port Authority Board Room in the Ferry Plaza Building. With floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views from the ferry landing across the bay to the hills of the renowned Napa Valley, the vintners once again brought the Napa Valley to San Francisco.

The panel of speakers included Susan Boswell, owner of Chateau Boswell Winery; Bruce Cakebread, COO of Cakebread Cellars; Chris Howell, winemaker and general manager, Cain Vineyard and Winery; and Linda Reiff, NVV executive director.

"We have a long and wonderful relationship between the City and the Valley," said Linda Reiff, executive director of the NVV. She continued, "Dating back to the 19th century San Francisco has been the gateway to Napa Valley winegrowing region. Back in the 1940s and 50s vintners decorated cable cars to celebrate the harvest. The San Francisco market has long been integral to the success of Napa Valley. Today that partnership is showcased on an international level; in fact in just a few weeks, we will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa for the Great Wine Capitals annual meeting. San Francisco-Napa Valley represents the U.S. in this global coalition."

Speaking to members of the media, Reiff presented an overview of the Napa Valley, and placed some of today's topics into a historical perspective. Of note, she said, "December 5 will mark the 75th anniversary of the day Prohibition was repealed. Prohibition had a far-reaching effect on American wine drinking and obviously posed one of the most overwhelming obstacles to the industry in the U.S. But January 1, 1934, as wine sales became legal, a new chapter opened. California has seen wine sales grow steadily over the years as wine has been incorporated into the fabric of American culture. The U.S. is poised to soon be the largest wine-consuming economy in the world-a very different place than where we were 75 years ago."

A Toast to America's First Agricultural Preserve

However, the industry has had a number of challenges to overcome and so far it has done very well, not only in Napa Valley, but all over California. Forty years ago residents of Napa County established the nation's first agricultural preserve, the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve, which today permanently protects more than 38,000 acres of prime valley floor land. In fact the urban footprint of all the county's municipalities was defined back in 1968. The root of our success in Napa Valley is tied to the Ag Preserve. On November 4, Napa County residents will vote again to protect ag land for another 50 years. What was once known as Measure J, appears on the local ballot as Measure P - Ag Land Preservation - which will continue to ensure the valley's rural and agricultural nature."

Strength in Numbers and Dollars

Reiff continued, "We have reached another important milestone in our organization, which turns 65 in 2009: we now have 330 member wineries, 38 new members this year alone-a healthy and dramatic increase from the seven founding members in 1944. The strength of the reputation of Napa's legendary wines is strong in the marketplace. For a snapshot of Napa Valley: 95% of the wineries are family owned. 2/3 produce less than 10,000 cases and 1/2 produce less than 5,000 cases annually. 86% of our vintners own vineyards."

The value of Napa Valley to the greater California wine industry is disproportional to the appellation itself. Just 4% of California's harvest comes from the Napa Valley, yet its wines account for nearly 30% of the economic impact of the state's industry to California's economy and nearly 34% of the economic impact of California's wine on the U.S. economy. In a soon-to-be-released report, the Napa Valley industry has an annual value of nearly $11 billion on Napa County, and $41.9 billion nationwide. The study by top industry analyst Barbara Insel of Stonebridge Research concludes that, "While Napa Valley is uniquely suited for fine winegrowing due to its geography and climate, this value statement is also a reflection of the region's reputation for quality and consistency..."

Click here to continue reading the complete NVV Report on Harvest 2008.

Read 2008 harvest quotes from vintners.

Contact: Terry Hall, Communications Director 707-968-4217