Every year, we love to share WA Wine fun facts about the wonderful wine industry in Washington state. Therefore, we hope you enjoy this updated 2020 version, courtesy of Washington Wine. First, Cabernet is still King in this state (29% of crop), followed by Chardonnay (16%). Riesling, Merlot and Syrah round out the top five, which altogether equate to more than 80% of the crop. Second, Cab Franc received the highest average price per ton. Overall, for four years now, red varieties account for nearly 60% of the total WA crop.
More Information from the Washington Wine News Release
“Washington’s wine grape crop may have been smaller in 2020, but according to farmers and winemakers—quality is high. The Washington State Wine Commission’s annual Grape Production Report showed 178,500 tons of wine grapes were harvested in 2020, an 11% decrease compared to 2019.
“The smaller harvest is due to many factors,” explained Steve Warner, President of the Washington State Wine Commission. “The first factor is Mother Nature. We had a series of freeze events in October 2019, which many farmers say led to smaller canopies and yields in 2020. Some regions experienced wind and rain at bloom time, which contributed to a smaller cluster size.
“We then had several smoke events during harvest, which we are finding to have had limited negative impact to the grapes on a widespread scale, but did impact picking decisions. All of this paired with varied levels of business concerns related to COVID-19 added up to a smaller crop.
“The early feedback we’re receiving from winemakers is exciting, as these 2020 wines are showing excellent balance and structure,” Warner said.
WA Wine Fun Facts: By the Numbers
National rank: Second- largest premium wine producer in the U.S.
Number of wineries: 1,050 (Up from 1,000 in 2019; in 1981,19 wineries were registered in Washington state.)
Number of wine grape growers: 400+
Varieties produced: 70+ (up from 30 in 2014)
Ratio of white to red: 59% red to 41% white
WA Wine Fun Facts: Top Red Varietals (106,085 Tons)
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Pinot Noir
- Grenache Noir, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot
WA Wine Fun Facts: Top White Varietals (72,415 Tons)
- Pinot Gris
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Chenin Blanc
Average hours of summer sunlight:
Overall, 16 hours per day, about one more hour than California’s prime growing region
Moreover, 6.8 inches in eastern Washington (the major grape growing region); 35-38 inches in western Washington
We hope you enjoyed this updated WA Wine Fun Facts post. In conclusion, you can now support more than 1,000 wineries in Washington state. These wineries have adjusted their operations during the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. So we encourage you to find wineries in your area to visit where possible. Likewise, order wine online to pick up or have delivered. And certainly, drink for Washington!
Above all, we have been proud supporters of Washington wine since we moved here in 1999. Subsequently, Write for Wine, which is a cheerleader for Washington wineries, launched in 2007.
In addition, here are other recent stories on Washington State Wine:
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Margot and Dave