California's grape harvest last year was the biggest ever, according to statistics released Friday.
The 2012 grape "crush," as it's called, came to nearly 4.4 million tons, the California Department of Food and Agriculture said. That was up 13 percent from the year before, and 1 percent higher than the previous record in 2005.
Despite the avalanche of product, prices rose smartly.
Red wine grapes jumped 24 percent, to $879 a ton. White wine grapes rose 15 percent to $623 a ton. Both prices were the highest in at least 25 years.
Brokers and analysts said the pricing shows that demand continues to rise for California wines, which consume the vast majority of all the grapes grown.
"Growing consumer demand is expected to easily absorb the increase (in supply), especially after a light harvest in 2011," said Steve Fredricks, president of Novato's Turrentine Brokerage, in a prepared statement.
He said California winemakers have been importing bulk product in recent years to make up for weak harvests, but that is "likely to drop significantly."