By Ricardo Lopez
2:43 PM AKST, February 8, 2013
California's grape wine harvest in 2012 was the largest to date, up 20% from the year earlier, according to a preliminary report released Friday.
According to the California Grape Crush Report, the wine grape crop was 4 million tons last year even though there was little new planting of grapes.
Consumer demand for wine has been growing in recent years, with exports growing to China.
"We really needed" a large crop, said Glenn Proctor, a partner with Ciatti Co., a bulk wine and grape brokerage firm. In the past, he said, "we’ve had shorter harvests, increased demands and a short supply."
Grapes are the state's third-most valuable agricultural commodity and are primarily grown in the Central Coast, Napa, Sonoma and Lodi.
The state's pinot noir crop size reached its highest level in 2012, at 247,000 tons, up 45% from a year earlier.
"Quality for 2012 should be outstanding," Proctor's firm said in a statement.