And Yet We Need More Wine Grapes!
Can you imagine 243,000 tons of wine grapes? How many football fields the pile would cover? Well, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, that’s how many wine grapes were harvested in the Central Coast district of California in 2013, including Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties.
Let’s convert that to liquid, since that’s where we want to go with this anyway. The helpful folks at Cornell University viticulture program give us the rule of thumb that you get 756 bottles of wine from a ton of grapes. We took out the iPhone to find out that 756 times 243,000 is a very lot of bottles of wine, about 183,708,000.
Can this be true? Almost 184 million bottles of wine? Who drinks all that wine?
In 2012, the population of San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties was 1,132,815 people of all ages. We don’t know how many of them drank wine, or were legally allowed to drink wine. But if you just assume that all of them drink wine (some drink enough for two), then these counties produced 162 bottles of wine per person.
That is more reasonable, being about 2 glasses of wine per person per day. This puts things in perspective, too, because wine has become a very popular item. We are grateful for this because we live in one of the best wine regions in the world, and it attracts wine lovers. But you need a really very large amount of wine grapes to meet the demand.
So even though the state of California as a whole produced 4.7 million tons of wine grapes in 2013, we are still tearing out other crops to plant more wine grapes. In most of the west, water is what people fight over, but here in SLO we are weighing the pros and cons of wine vs. water.
One good thing about Central Coast wines is that they are above average. Not like in Lake Woebegon where all of the children are above average, but as in they are really high quality. The same Trib report notes that Central Coast grapes cost an average of $1413 per ton, compared with just $713 per ton for California as a whole. Central Coast grapes truly are in high demand because they make such good wine.
If you want to know how many grapes are in your glass of wine, check out that page on the Cornell website. We will leave it to you to figure out how much those grapes are worth, but you’ll need to know where they were grown.
Or, just skip it and enjoy your SLO wine!
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