Grapes

Napa Valley, California, the nation’s premier wine-producing area and one of the top wine regions in the world, is running out of grapevines, according to the Huffington Post.

The issue stems from vines needing to be replaced, which is common in wine making. But what’s happened in Napa is related to several factors including a devastating phylloxera outbreak in the 1980s; recession sales slumps that made replacing vines financially difficult; and the need to replace aging vines hitting many vintners at the same time, decreasing the amount of available vine stocks. Nurseries are reporting they’ve never seen an inventory issue like this before. “All of this activity caught commercial nurseries across California short of supply. Some are sold out for 2013 and are taking orders for 2014 and beyond,” reports the Post. Jennifer Putnam, executive director of the association told the Post, “That nurseries are sold out is unprecedented. That an industry is reinvesting in itself right now is a sure sign we’re coming out of the recession.”

Best known for its cabernet sauvignon grapes, the region also grows varietals including malbec, petite sirah and petit verdot. As grapevines age, they produces fewer grapes and need replaced approximately every 20 years. After the region rose to fame in the 1970s (when a Napa wine won the Paris Wine Tasting), new plantings happened again in the 1990s—20 years after Napa wines took off as a legitimate contender in the wine category. It’s now 20 years since those vines were planted and the booming region simply can’t keep pace with the need for replanting, reports the Post.

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Image: (matt)