Grape nurseries are out of planting material, winery storage tank sales are booming, a new million-gallon custom wine processor Zirkle Wine Company has added capacity to the state’s winemaking facility, and big name, out-of-state wineries are moving into Washington or partnering in some fashion with existing wineries and labels. Washington’s wine industry is ‘hot’ right now, gaining national and international attention for its value and premium quality.
The Washington Wine Commission, recently completing a five-year strategic plan, has forecasted strong growth for the industry in the next five years and believes total wine production could reach 16 million cases by 2017.
Sixteen million cases of wine would translate into about 62,000 bearing acres, says Steve Warner, executive director of the Wine Commission. The most recent statewide acreage survey, conducted in 2010, estimated bearing grape acres at around 45,000. Although official crush numbers are not yet available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, early estimates were that the 2012 crop would hit 190,000 tons of wine grapes, the largest crop on record.
Warner will share details of the plan and forecast with industry members during the annual meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers on February 8 at the Three Rivers Convention in Kennewick.
See the full story about Washington’s wine industry growth spurt, E. & J. Gallo’s move into the state, and details about the new Zirkle Wine Company in Prosser in the February 1 issue of the Good Fruit Grower.