Washington Wine Struggles Pt 2

Washington Wine Struggles Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. After a few decades of unprecedented growth, Washington’s wine industry finally hit a bump in the road this year with the coronavirus. Conservative estimates put the losses for Washington’s wine industry at over $800-million dollars.

Vicky Scharlau, executive director at the Washington Winegrower Association, says that impacts everyone …

SCHARLAU … “Unfortunately, that impact also translates not just to the wineries in the state, but these are small family businesses. I mean we do have some large companies that are perhaps better positioned to weather some of these economic storms, but when you’re talking about small, family-run operations. It’s much more difficult to be able to weather that storm.”

Scharlau says it’s a little bit easier for the wineries …

SCHARLAU … “And, then translating that back down into the vineyard, and it’s near impossible to try to make up for, certainly lost sales in a vineyard because if your grapes are ready to sell and you have nowhere to sell them you don’t have an alternative. You have bird food, but you don’t have a place you can sell your grapes.”

And, Scharlau says without the grapes there is no wine …

SCHARLAU … “They’re a product that must have a home before they’re harvested. So, they have to have a pathway to the product or they’re unsaleable, and that has caused great challenges for wine grape growers in the state.”

Especially, Scharlau says when you factor in the recent smoke events.

Listen tomorrow for more … and some much-needed relief.

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