Some growers were hit with a triple-whammy of high amounts of rain in the spring which knocked flowers off the bloom, a cool summer which decreased the amount of fruits on their vines, and harvest rot that set in during the fall.
The figure comes from the preliminary Crush Report released by the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, according to the article. While some growers were hit worse than others, they all found silver lining in the quality of the grapes that were harvested.
As reported in Sonomanews.com:
“According to the commission report, Sauvignon Blanc was hit the hardest, with a 31.9 percent decrease in total tonnage picked from the 2010 harvest. Chardonnay was down 21 percent, Merlot saw a 16.3 percent drop and Pinot Noir was down 5.1 percent. Conversely, the total tonnage of Zinfandel was up 20.4 percent over the 2010 harvest, with a 5.3 percent increase in Cabernet grapes. Although yield was down in many varietals, growers agree the quality was better overall in the grapes that survived the wet weather.”