FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEATTLE (Feb. 9, 2015) – Washington State’s wine grape harvest grew for the third consecutive year, totaling 227,000 tons in 2014, reported the United States Department of Agriculture today. The USDA’s annual grape crush report showed an 8 percent increase from the previous year, making 2014 the largest harvest for Washington State to date. Tonnage in 2013 was 210,000 and 188,000 in 2012.
White varieties in 2014 slightly outnumbered red, 53 to 47 percent. White varieties saw a 16 percent increase from the previous year, while reds were up just 1 percent. Riesling was the top producing variety at 50,500 tons, or 22 percent of the total. Chardonnay was second, at 43,800 tons, or 19 percent of the total. Next was Cabernet Sauvignon with 42,200 tons, or 19 percent of the total. Merlot was fourth with 36,900 tons, or 16 percent of the total.
“With new plantings beginning to produce fruit and the continued growth of our wine industry, we were expecting 2014 to be another record harvest,” said Steve Warner, president of Washington State Wine, which represents every licensed winery and grape grower in the state. “Barring any weather events, this will likely be a continuing trend.”
Washington State currently has more than 850 licensed wineries, compared to 19 wineries in 1981, 163 in 2000 and about 750 in 2012. The region is also attracting outside interest from out-of-state and international investors, such as wine companies from California, Canada and Italy.
“We’re in a period of strong growth,” said Warner. “It’s an exciting time for the industry.”
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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].