ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is there a limit for maximum yield of grapes in California, like there is in other winegrowing regions? If not, what is the average amount of grapes that producers pick?

—Murat C., Istanbul, Turkey

Dear Murat,

There aren’t any laws dictating yields in California grapes. Some producers want to maximize their yields; others believe that low yields are key to quality wines. I’ve heard of yields ranging anywhere from less than a ton per acre up to 10 tons per acre.

To find out what the average yield in California is, I looked at the data for red and white wine grapes in the 2010 California Grape Crush Report and the 2010 California Grape Acreage Report, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The overall average yield was 7.69 tons per acre in 2010—slightly higher for white wine grapes (8.44) and slightly lower for red wine grapes (6.95).

—Dr. Vinny


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