Napa Valley sees wine grape production plummet amid wildfires, pandemic

The picturesque Napa Valley may be famed for its acres of grape vineyards and fine wines, but crop production fell by more than half in 2020 as the region struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of devastating wildfires. (Photo courtesy of Bob McClenahan/Visit Napa Valley)

The value of agricultural production in Napa County was only about half the previous year’s total, according to an annual crop report released at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The overall value of wine grape crops, a product that overshadows other agricultural production in Napa County, dropped from $937 million in 2019 to $461 million in 2020. The overall production of the crop also decreased by 60 thousand tons compared to the year before.

The reduction can be tied to the LNU Complex and Glass wildfires that burned through much of Northern California’s wine country last year as well as the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Agricultural Commissioner Tracy Cleveland said.

The highest-performing wine varieties in tonnage and overall value were cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc, which, when tallied together, accounted for 74 percent of production and 80 percent of wine grape value in the county.

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