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Wine News

Bumper crop amid warnings of drought

California had its largest wine grape crop ever in 2013, up 7 percent from the record 2012 harvest, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture's annual preliminary grape crush report. New tonnage records were set although on average grape prices declined. “Napa is out of sync with everybody,” declared industry analyst George Schofield. “The entire state is up in volume and down in price and Napa is just the opposite.”

Much of that growth came from moscato, with muscat of Alexandria, the most-planted of the three muscat varieties, up a phenomenal 60 percent in a single year. Yet the muscat tsunami comes at a time when growth in sales of the fruity, sweet wine have started to level off.

This comes amid an announcement by California's water agency that it may for the first time be unable to deliver water to local agencies, amid a worsening drought. A state-wide drought was declared earlier this month, as the largest reservoirs sank to record low levels.

Forecasters have warned 2014 could be California's driest year on record.