Grape acreage continues to grow
Washington State has almost 44,000 acres of wine grapes, a 40 percent increase over the past five years, a new wine grape acreage survey shows. Acreage has increased fourfold over the past 20 years.
Of the current total, almost 25,000 acres are red grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon is the state’s top wine grape with 10,293 acres, followed by Merlot (8,235 acres), Chardonnay (7,654), White Riesling (6,320), and Syrah (3,103). The state has 850 acres of certified organic wine grapes and 70 acres in transition.
The Yakima Valley is the largest of Washington’s 11 American Viticultural Areas in terms of acreage at 13,452 acres. Horse Heaven Hills is the second largest with 10,584 acres, of which almost 7,000 acres are red varieties. The next largest AVA is the Columbia Valley with 7,500 acres in total.
Respondents to the survey, conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, said they intend to plant a further 3,319 acres of wine grapes in the next five years and remove 177 acres.
The NASS has forecast Washington’s 2011 wine grape crop at 135,000 tons, down from 160,000 tons in 2010. Production was affected by a freeze last November and cool, wet spring conditions this year.
Washington has 26,169 acres of juice grapes, comprising just over 25,000 acres of Concord and 1,100 acres of Niagara. About 1,600 acres of juice grapes are certified organic and 57 are in transition.
Growers foresee planting 740 acres of juice grapes in the next five years but expect to remove 216 acres.
The NASS has forecast Washington’s juice grape crop at 140,000 tons, down from 176,000 tons a year ago.
The survey was funded partly by a federal specialty crop block grant and partly by fruit industry organizations, including the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.