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W hat’s in a N umber ?

Measuring Arizona Grape Production

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What’s in a number?

Measuring Arizona Grape Production

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Story and Photos by Mark Beres of Flying Leap Vineyards

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compared to the US wine production industry at large. For example, in 2014 there were 41 US states reporting commercial wine production, according to the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Ranking from first to last, Arizona ranks 27th with 87,934 cases. To put this into

For example, customers often ask us about how much wine we get from a single vine. They ask about how large the industry is, and how much wine is produced here in the Grand Canyon state. Thankfully, in recent years numerous official government sources have published reliable metrics that, when combined answer these questions and give us an enhanced awareness of the size, scope and production capacity of Arizona’s in-state farm wineries. First, Arizona’s wine industry is very small when

“An individual Arizona grapevine produces about a single bottle of wine.” Mark Beres, Flying Leap Vineyards

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rizona’s grape harvest traditionally runs from early August to mid-October. Invariably, at this time of year, one of the most common questions we are asked in our tasting rooms centers on the metrics of wine production.

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many bottles of wine are produced from a single grapevine. However, we have to make some approximations, because there is not industrywide data on vineyard planting density – the number of vines planted per acre, but we can make some reasonable guesses at it and produce our estimate. Flying Leap has some of the most densely planted vineyards in Arizona – about 2,000 vines per acre. However, most vineyards in our state have about 800 – 1,200 vines per acre. Using this range as a reasonable approximation of the state average, we can compute the per-vine wine production here as about ¾ to 1¼ bottles per vine. To summarize, Arizona’s wine industry is very small in the context of America’s wine industry at large, producing just a mere fraction of the national vintage each year, and the wines produced here are quite rare indeed. Recent US Government data shows the state’s vineyards produce about 3¼ barrels of wine per planted acre. Making a reasonable approximation for statewide average planting density, we can estimate that an individual Arizona grapevine produces about a single bottle of wine, on average. These numbers are useful as simple guides in assessing the size and scope of one of America’s most unique and interesting wine industries. Flying Leap Vineyards, 342 Elgin Road, Elgin www.FlyingLeapVineyards.com (520) 455-5499

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perspective, consider that Arizona’s wine production is just 0.025 percent of total US production. Accordingly, authentic Arizona wine is quite rare. To understand the production metrics of Arizona’s wine industry with even greater clarity, we need to roll up our sleeves and do some math. To examine the industry’s vineyards even closer, we need to look at the amount of fruit harvested from Arizona vines and consider this in the context of how much finished wine results from this harvest. Thankfully, we have reliable published data to guide the analysis. According to the US Department of Agriculture, there were 1,370 tons of winegrapes harvested from 750 planted acres in Arizona in 2013. We know from statistics published by the US TTB that in that same year, Arizona’s wineries reported 61,110 cases of wine production. Using these numbers, we can estimate Arizona’s vineyard conversion – the amount of wine produced from the harvest – at about 45 cases per ton. Using the USDA’s published survey data, we know that Arizona’s vineyards produce about 1.83 tons per acre. Accordingly, Arizona’s vineyards produce about 82 cases per planted acre. Most Arizona wineries age their wines in 225-liter Bordeaux-style barrique barrels, which when filled contain the equivalent of 300 bottles of wine, or 25 cases. Thus, Arizona’s vineyards produce on average about 3¼ ‘standard’ 225-liter barrels of wine per planted acre of grapes. Using this number as a guide, we can estimate how

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AZWINE Lifestyle - What's In A Number  

Measuring Arizona Grape Production

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