Happy Grapes

Happy Grapes

Back in August the National Agricultural Statistics Service predicted a production increase for Washington wine grapes of 30 percent over last year, which would be a record high of 185 thousand tons. Production for juice grapes was expected to increase 32 percent from last year to 230,000 tons. Now that grape harvest has actually started yield expectations are still looking quite favorable. Executive Director of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, Vicky Scharlau, reflects on how warm favorable weather during the maturing process has benefited this year’s grape crop.

SCHARLAU: We’ve got some viticultural staff out in the vineyards that are talking about how this has really allowed the juice in the grapes to show lower acids, higher pH’s and just happy grapes.

In 2010 and 2011, cold temperatures had damaged vines, resulting in reduced yields. This year’s ideal growing situation should result in not only increased yields, but some beautiful wine.

SCHARLAU: We’ve had healthy growing conditions, we’ve had normal degree days. We won’t know until harvest is over and the crush is fairly completed at the winery level, but 2012 is looking to be a record crop. Given the last couple of years, we’re very excited.

Coming up this weekend is the Lake Chelan Crush where winemakers of the Lake Chelan Valley invite one and all to experience first hand the steps involved in the grape harvest, while enjoying award winning wines, live music, and local foods. For more information, visit LakeChelanWineValley.com.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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