Washington wine grape growers harvested 227,000 tons in 2017, according to the Crush Report released by Washington State Wine Commission on Thursday. That’s down about 16 percent from the record breaking 270,000 ton harvest in 2016, but very similar to the 2014 and 2015 harvests.
Wine makers report that excellent fruit quality in the 2017 vintage as well.
“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,” said commission president Steve Warner in a statement.
The average price per ton of $1,198 is the highest in recent years, $41 above 2016. The most expensive grape was Petit Verdot, at $1,700, follow by Mourvedre, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Noir, and then Cabernet Sauvignon in the $1,600 to $1,500 range.
Cabernet Sauvignon continues to be the dominant variety by far, with 62,200 tons harvested. Rounding out the top five varieties are Chardonnay at 39,300 tons, Riesling at 33,000 tons, Merlot at 32,700 tons and Syrah at 20,800 tons.
Over the past five years, the state’s wine grape acreage has grown by 18 percent and the growth rate for grapes grown and wine sold is steady at about 5 percent over the past 10 years, according to the news release from the commission.
“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.”