Washington Reports Lighter Wine Grape Harvest, Excellent Quality Source: Walla Walla Union-bulleti

Posted: Mar 02, 2018

Washington’s wine industry reported a lighter harvest but with near-ideal conditions for grapes in 2017, according to the latest information from Washington State Wine.

Last year’s harvest yielded 227,000 tons of grapes for about a 16 percent decrease from the previous record-breaking year, when 270,000 tons were harvested.

However, last year’s results were up slightly from the year before that, information from Washington State Wine’s annual Wine Grape Crush Report detailed.

The 2016 harvest was “exceptionally large,” including in grape cluster, size and weight, Washington State Wine President Steve Warner said in an announcement this morning. Consequently, the natural response of the vines in 2017 produced “more normal yields.”

The quality of the grapes has generated some excitement.

“The growing season started off cool, warmed up nicely throughout and then cooled off again toward harvest time, which created near-ideal conditions for wine grapes,” Warner said.

Among the highlights of the 2017 Grape Crush Report:

Cabernet sauvignon was the top-producing variety, with 62,200 tons, or 27 percent of the total. Chardonnay was second behind that, representing 39,300 tons, or 17 percent. Riesling (33,000 tons), merlot (32,700 tons) and syrah (20,800 tons) completed the top five.

Red varieties made up the majority of total production, with 57 percent of the grapes. That’s a drop from 58 percent in 2016.

Growers received an average of $1,198 per ton for all varieties in 2017. That was a $41 increase from 2016.

Petit verdot received the highest average price per ton of $1,700.

Washington wine continues to grow, with increased grape acreage of 18 percent over the last five years. The number of wineries licensed in the state has surpassed 940.

“Washington State wine is a greater than $5 billion industry with a growing global presence,” Warner said. “We expect much growth in the years to come, as new vineyard plantings start to produce fruit and our wineries continue to gain traction around the world.”

Source: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
March 1, 2018

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