1947 | 2013

Ripen or wither, change is the only constant. Take fruit, for example. Apple production has decreased significantly over the past 65 years from $27 million in 1947 (inflation adjusted) to $3.6 million in 2012. In contrast, grape production has increased nearly 50 times its 1947 mark of $12 million (inflation adjusted) to $582 million in 2012.

In the old days, peaches, plums, and pears held their own output value. In the new days, well, not so much. And who knew that we used to have a robust cherry crop! Old-timers, I guess.

None of these stats say that apples are good and grapes are bad or vice-versa. What they point to is that our economic vitality is hugely affected by the crops we grow, process, and send to market. Wine grape value in 2012 rocketed 68% above that in 2011. Turns out, we can literally grow our own gold.

But what such stats do tell us is that food producers can learn an awful lot from wine grape producers. It’s all just ag, after all. In the last 40 years, grape growers have learned that to produce, bottle, and sell Sonoma County fruit and our unique terroir simply makes for terrific business. Here’s to the rest of us catching up.

Gretchen Giles, Editor


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