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The Preliminary Crush Report is Here!

So, the Preliminary Crush Report came out today and I’ve been comparing it to my predictions. Overall, I’ve been really on point for work done for clients, with most predictions running between 0.5% to 2.5% off-target. At some point, I will put up a score sheet of my public predictions on this blog. Spoiler alert: They’re pretty good, but there are two forecasts that were not. And one was off by a lot. Of course, I’ve known that the public ones, being a bit less researched than those I sell, would do a bit worse, but I’ll get into that once we get final numbers. First, I want to talk about something else.

I had been hearing quite a bit from wineries and some of the bankers that back them that we were going to see prices going down or plateauing in 2014. That changed once the year got under way to, ”Well we’ll see prices plateau, except at the very high end.” And then that changed to, “Premium wine grapes will see price rises, but overall prices will actually drop, due to imbalance in the Central Valley.

I kept telling my clients that this is not true. That we will continue to see prices rise. That the San Joaquin Valley will see price drops, but overall California wine grape prices will stay steady, bolstered by wineries taking high prices in the coastal regions. On May 1st, I made that prediction public on this blog with my first blog post (at the time VFA was called Uptack). Even I started doubting my models and began incorporating other people’s data and analysis. In fact, for the most part those of my predictions that are off by more than a couple of percent are low. That may or may not be because I let the doubters influence me, but it’s illustrative that I’ve been one of the most bullish voices I’ve been hearing about grape prices and I still came in low on a couple predictions.

So, what’s the takeaway here? That if you are a vineyard, you shouldn’t be following the price predictions coming from wineries and the banks that back them. I, of course, would recommend that you get your predictions from me, but that’s your choice. Anyways, that’s all I have for now. I’ll blog more about the Crush Report once the final numbers come in.


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