While the nation’s 2012 grape crop is expected to be similar to a year ago, Washington State expects to harvest a record wine-grape crop of 185,000 tons, an increase of 30 percent over last year’s volume.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August forecast indicates a total U.S. grape crop of 7.3 million tons, compared with almost 7.4 million in 2011. In California, which produces the bulk of the nation’s grapes, the 2012 crop is estimated at 6.6 million tons, the same as last year. That number comprises 3.7 million tons of wine grapes, 1.9 million tons of raisins, and 1.0 million tons of table grapes.

Washington is expected to produce 415,000 tons of grapes, up from 316,000 last year. The wine grape crop is estimated at a record 185,000 tons, and the juice grape crop at 230,000 tons. The increase over last year is attributed to a mild winter and warm, dry spring.

Eastern and Midwest growing regions expect to harvest smaller crops this year because of spring freezes. The forecast for New York, the nation’s second-largest grape growing region, is 115,000 tons, down from 188,000 last year. Michigan’s crop is forecast at 30,000 tons, down from 94,400 last year, while Pennsylvania’s crop is forecast at 54,000 tons, down from 91,000 a year ago.