This report is a summary of five years of grape costs and returns data collected from Lake Erie Region grape growers for the 1996 – 2000 seasons. “Concord” and “Niagara” grapes utilized for juice and generic wine accounted for over 90 percent of the survey acreage. About two-thirds of the acreage surveyed was in New York and one-third from Pennsylvania. In recent years, about 40 growers participated, with total vineyard acreage of just over 4,000. Average costs per acre were $1,559 including an imputed value for the operator’s labor. Major cost categories were paid labor ($341 per acre), depreciation ($200), interest ($126), operator labor ($125) and chemicals ($105). Average yield per farm was 6.4 tons per acre (with a range of 3.6 to 9.8 tons per acre). Many Lake Erie Grape Belt growers were able to improve their operations during these five years of relatively high prices, especially in 1999 when favorable prices were coupled with high yields. Wise improvements made during this time should help these participants face looming challenges as prices soften.


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