2014 was once again a year for the record books in Washington, with the state producing 227,000 tons of wine grapes. This was an increase of 8% over the previous year, though the number was less than the 240,000 tons initially forecast.
Production of white wine grapes shot up 16% with much of this increase accounted for by Riesling, which increased a whopping 26% from 2013. Riesling became Washington’s most produced grape variety in 2014 at 50,500 tons, eclipsing Chardonnay (43,000 tons) and Cabernet Sauvignon (42,200).
After two successive vintages where Washington had tilted toward red wine grape production, the dramatic increase in Riesling production put white grape varieties (119,300 tons) firmly ahead of reds (107,700 tons) in 2014. Presumably some of the increased production can be attributed to the warmth of the season with growers hanging larger crops, though increased plantings in some areas – particularly the Ancient Lakes – may also be a factor.
Red wine grape production meanwhile increased a modest 1%. Cabernet Sauvignon production dipped slightly from 42,600 tons in 2013 to 42,400 tons in 2014. Other varieties showed modest increases or remained at their 2013 production levels.
Grenache continued to be the state’s most expensive grape variety at an average of $1,674 per ton compared to the $1,110 average for all varieties. These initial production numbers reported by the USDA are subject to revision in July.
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