Vineyard Yield per Hectare and Acre
As far as yield is concerned, in general, when we harvest table grape varieties, we can harvest a higher yield than when we grow wine varieties. But even among wine varieties, there are significant differences in yield. Every farmer has to make informed and fact-based decisions and find the proper balance between quantity and quality. Some European grape producers (Sauvignon or Cabernet varieties) claim that they don’t want to harvest more than 6 tons of grapes per hectare (5.300 lbs. per acre), because a higher yield will dramatically decrease the product quality. Although this yield may seem incredibly low compared to other vineyards, it is more than enough to financially support these producers, because the product can be marketed at a premium price. On the other hand, medium and low-quality winemaking varieties can give 20-40 tons per hectare or even more (18.000 to 36.000 lbs. per acre), but they cannot be marketed at a high price. Table grape varieties can give a yield of 20, 30, or even 50 tons per hectare (18.000 to 45.000 lbs per acre). However, as we mentioned before, most contemporary table grape varieties can give a good yield for the first 15-17 years of their lives. When the crop reaches the 15th-17th year of its life, many producers plow and destroy the table grape crop, in order to proceed to crop rotation or leave the field fallow for a couple of years. Keep in mind that 1 ton = 1000 kg = 2.200 lbs. and 1 hectare = 2,47 acres = 10.000 square meters.
In most cases, small boutique vineyards prefer to bet on quality, rather than on quantity. They do not have the economies of scales needed to produce an average quality product at a low price. Therefore, the majority of European producers remove most of the fruiting clusters of the plant well before the harvest, in order to encourage the plant to devote its resources to fewer but tastier fruits. This, combined with the significant smaller sizes of European vineyards, results in considerably lower yields of European Vineyards compared to the American ones.
As a general rule, for every 1000 kg of grapes harvested, we can produce 400 to 650 kg of wine (40-65% yield). Of course, there can be significant deviations from these limits.
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Grape Yield per Hectare and Acre
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