FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEATTLE (March 26, 2020) – Washington State’s wine grape harvest came in smaller compared to previous years, but the quality of the fruit picked was very high. The Washington State Wine Commission’s annual Grape Production Report, compiled with information provided by all Washington State wineries, showed 201,000 tons were harvested in 2019, a 23% decrease compared to the previous year.
“Mother Nature served a series of unfortunate frost events throughout the state in early to mid-October,” said Steve Warner, President of Washington Wine. “Many winemakers and growers had already picked most or all of their fruit before the frosts, but for sites carrying higher yields, there was a good amount of fruit left unpicked due to concerns about frost damage.”
Overall, the growing season was slightly cooler when compared to recent years, but on par with historical 20-year averages. “Although a smaller harvest, farmers reported ultra-high quality in the fruit that did come in,” Warner said. “The cooler temperatures equated to lower overall sugar accumulation and higher acidities, which has a lot of winemakers excited about the 2019 vintage.”
According to the grape report, Cabernet Sauvignon is still king in Washington at 53,740 tons or 27% of the total. Chardonnay was second at 33,540 tons or 17% of the total. Riesling, Merlot, and Syrah rounded out the top five, which altogether equated to more than 80% of the crop. Red varieties accounted for 60% of the total production, which has remained roughly consistent over the past three years. Every variety saw a decrease in tons crushed in 2019 with the exceptions of Grenache and Pinot Noir, which each saw a small increase. Farmers received an average of $1,315 per ton, which was an 8% increase over the previous year. Petit Verdot continues to receive the highest average price per ton at $1,876.
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About the Washington State Wine Commission: The Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC) represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, WSWC provides a marketing platform to raise positive awareness about the Washington wine industry and generate greater demand for its wines. Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, WSWC is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.
Media Contact: Heather Bradshaw, Communications Director, Washington State Wine Commission (206) 495-5844, or [email protected].