Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
02.09.2011  
 

Washington Wine Industry Grows

Record harvest boosts attendance at annual convention in Northwest

 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
washington wine
 
Kennewick, Wash.—This week’s annual meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) here is on track for record attendance, staying comfortably above the 1,000-person mark as the industry continues to grow.

The latest government figures show Washington State’s wine industry harvesting a record 160,000 tons in 2010, while figures from Wines and Vines’ own IndustryBase indicate the number of wineries in the state has grown to 647 today, up from 593 in April 2010.

The figures cast a bright light on an industry that’s been dogged by the shadows of a recession and other symptoms of hard times, even as its ascendance on the world stage has progressed.

While wineries shut last year as economic woes shook the industry, and one vineyard reported the theft of grapes (a mystery still unsolved, yet perhaps the most malicious sort of compliment one could receive), new entrants show that prospects for Washington’s wine industry remain strong.

Rising production is driven by a growth in red varieties—especially Cabernet Sauvignon, which grabbed ground from white varieties. Riesling tops the state’s production with 33,500 tons, according to National Agricultural Statistical Service figures, but Cabernet Sauvignon is close behind at 31,900 tons.

But more important to growers (and their bankers), prices rebounded in 2010 after a slump in 2009. While the average price per ton for all varieties hit $1,030 in the state during 2008, it dipped to $989 per ton in 2009 but hit a new high of $1,040 a ton last year.

That’s not to say the industry is without challenges, however.

A blast of cold November air that allowed ice wine production in neighboring British Columbia is thought to have damaged vines, though actual losses won’t be known till bud break this spring.

Any constraints on the grape production may lead to further rises in the price of grapes, a phenomenon Northwest Farm Credit Services notes in its recent report about the Northwest wine industry is combining with price-sensitive consumers to put pressure on wineries’ margins (see also Wines and Vines headline, “Oregon Wine Market Stabilizing”).

The pressure is evident in the shuffling of wineries and tasting rooms as well as the foreclosure in January of Whitman Cellars in Walla Walla. While other local wineries and tasting rooms opted to close in 2010, from Diageo’s Canoe Ridge Vineyard to Barbara Hetrick and Tim Sampson’s Yellow Hawk Cellars, most have avoided the indignity of foreclosure.

Rather, wineries have juggled the economic pressures by savvy pricing and local promotions. The Washington Wine Commission’s “World-Class Wine in Your Own Backyard” saw 2,400 consumers download its value pass (the initiative's key incentive tool), while the fight to allow corkage-free programs in various parts of the state is another venture that underscores the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of the Washington State industry.

Indeed, despite the changes, the actual make-up of the industry is virtually unchanged, according to Vicky Scharlau, executive director of the WAWGG.

“Composition has not changed in the industry nor has the composition of our attendees,” she told Wines and Vines last week, in the run-up to the WAWGG meeting.

Chances are the skills of those attending the show will be changing, however.

Today’s agenda includes a session promising “Instructive Hindsight” from 2010, while several sessions throughout the week focus on best management practices.

On Tuesday afternoon, growers got the low-down on getting paid, while on the morning session today will focus on winegrape and grapevine management.

But the future of the industry is always foremost, with Friday giving attendees tips on starting a career in the wine industry while established growers will mull whether or not to graft or replant vineyards in order to be competitive.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
March 2013 $546 million
5%
$6,988 million
7%
March 2014 $572 million $7,451 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
March 2013 $177 million
20%
$1,483 million
10%
March 2014 $213 million $1,634 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
March 2013 253
15%
166
27%
March 2014 292 210
     
 
MORE » Released on 04.14.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wines & Vines
Packaging Conference
 
Learn More »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • April 23-26
     
    CABs of Distinction in Paso Robles
     
  • April 26
     
    Siera Pelona Valley wine festival
     
  • April 27
     
    TAPAS Grand Tasting
     
  • April 29
     
    Rendez-Vous Laffort
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Starbucks Expands Wine Sales to More Cities »
 
Pretty amazing that the 1st wines chosen are from Argentina, Italy, and New Zealand! I...
Reader: Jacques Brix
 
Article: Starbucks Expands Wine Sales to More Cities »
 
Given Starbucks commitment to sustainability and global responsibility, I expect this move could be a...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: What to Do About Red Blotch »
 
There is NO correlation with planting density. Also FPS is working on the problem. New...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Premiere Wine Auction Nets $5.9 million »
 
Thanks for letting us know Janet, we've updated the story. Cheers
Reader: Andrew Adams
 
Article: Will Barrels Go the Way of Floppy Disks? »
 
Fun piece. Particularly enjoyed the three clearly superior attributes of standard barrels, including looking cool...
Reader: Tom Gable
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Wholesale Customer Ser...
 Sonoma, CA
General Administration and
 Financial Accountant &...
 St. Helena, CA
Finance
 Sales Representative
 San Francisco/East Bay, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Seasonal Skilled Cella...
 Healdsburg, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Tasting Room Associate
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Associate
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Server
 Healdsburg, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Busser
 Healdsburg, CA
General Administration and
 Host
 Healdsburg, CA
General Administration and
 Associate Marketing Ma...
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.