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Lodi wine growers up for challenge as industry sees down turn

California wine industry sees decline, new report shows
California wine industry sees decline, new report shows 02:03

LODI – It's been a rough year for California wine growers as a new report shows the industry was down almost 9% in 2023. Growers in Lodi say it's been a challenge but it's one they're ready to take on.

When it comes to the California grape industry, the news isn't that great.

"It's been a challenging year, the past couple of years have been challenging," said Stuart Spencer. 

Spencer is the executive director of the Lodi Wine-Grape Commission.

"We have a global oversupply of wine. So there's excess production from Australia, Chile, Europe, and a lot of that is pouring into the U.S. and it's undercutting the demand for California-grown wine grapes," Spencer said.

That means a lot of Lodi vineyards didn't get harvested last fall and some are even being removed this winter.

Couple that with inflation, changing tastes, and regulations, it hasn't been easy. In fact, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the wine industry was down almost 9% last year.

"California is one of the highest cost places to farm in the world. The regulatory and legislative challenges we have to deal with are driving the cost of framing up," Spencer said. 

"I don't quite see it completely doom and gloom," said Jeremy Trettevik. 

Trettevik is the owner and winemaker of the Jeremy Wine Company. He says business has dipped, but not as bad as other regions.

"There's one thing you can guarantee about the wine business, it's cyclical, you're going see these cycles of up and down," he said.

And those off cycles can be opportunities.

"They may not be the same opportunities in exactly the same format that you were looking at five years ago, but they're there," Trettevik said.

In the meantime, they could sure use some help.

"Our businesses support the local economy, we'd really appreciate it if the consumers supported local growers and vendors," Spencer said.

Lodi has 700 grape growers and 85 wineries. The area accounts for about 12% of all wine sold in the U.S.

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