Record Harvest for Wine Grapes in 2016

Record Harvest for Wine Grapes in 2016

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. The numbers are in, and the corks are popping in wine country where wine grape growers are celebrating a record harvest ...

HEATHER BRADSHAW ... "Yeah, so we had a record year for 2016. The wine grape production totaled 270-thousand tons, which is a 22 percent increase over 2015. Our previous record was in 2014 and we crushed that record."

No pun intended. The Washington Wine Commission's Heather Bradshaw says the record success can be attributed to both weather and more vines ...

HEATHER BRADSHAW ... "Well, the 2016 harvest, we attribute the big numbers to the result of a really great growing season that started out hot, but cooled down and was able to give the grapes a lot of hang time and allowed for a large crop, a larger than anticipated crop and large yields. And also driving that growth is the fact that new vineyard plantings are beginning to produce fruit and we expect this to continue in the coming years."

Bradshaw says winemakers are expecting this to result in exceptional wines ...

HEATHER BRADSHAW ... "I think everyone was expecting another really hot harvest, but, as I said, you know the weather really gave us a nice cool down and extended that growing season, through November for some people, so those grapes got a lot of time on the vine to mature and everyone's excited about these wines."

Cabernet Sauvignon was the state's top producing variety at 71,100 tons, or 26 percent of the state's total.

Another sign of growth, Washington surpassed 900 wineries licenses in 2016.

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