Annual wine production report shows 240,000 tons of wine grapes harvested last fall
Photos courtesy of Richard Duval Images
SEATTLE (March 30, 2023)—Washington’s 2022 wine grape harvest was marked by a significant increase in tonnage. The Washington State Wine Commission’s annual Grape Production Report, compiled with information provided by all Washington State wineries and growers, showed 240,000 tons of wine grapes were harvested in 2022, an increase of 34% over the previous year. The vintage produced top-quality grapes.
“Winemakers and growers alike are thrilled about the quality of the 2022 fruit, with exceptional flavors and high natural acidity,” said Chris Stone, VP of Marketing & Communications, Washington State Wine Commission. “It’s a standout vintage for Washington wine.”
The growing season started with a cold, wet winter, followed by cool weather through bloom. Warmer temperatures arrived late, in mid-June, putting the growing season two weeks or more behind recent years. This led to a late start to harvest.
“Most growers picked very little fruit in September—a stark contrast compared to the past few years,” Stone recalled.
Late September and October brought nearly unprecedented warm weather and perfect growing conditions throughout the Columbia Valley, allowing fruit plenty of time to ripen. This, along with the cool start to the season, contributed to bigger berries and clusters, and therefore a heavier crop overall.
“2022 was a bit of a nail-biter through the spring, but luckily we were handed an absolutely gorgeous fall which allowed the fruit to ripen perfectly,” Stone said.
Cabernet Sauvignon remained steady as Washington’s top variety at 67,015 tons and 28% of total production. Chardonnay was second at 39,450 tons or 16% of the total. Both varieties showed significant increases over the prior year, 32% for Cabernet Sauvignon and 54% for Chardonnay. This was due to a combination of both the lighter 2021 harvest and the heavier 2022 crop. Riesling, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris rounded out the top seven varieties, which altogether equated to 88% of the crop.
White varieties experienced a 50% increase, while red varieties grew by 23%. Several white varieties experienced a significant increase, specifically Pinot Gris which grew by 70% and Sauvignon Blanc which grew by 54%. As a result, red varieties accounted for 57% of total production in 2022, versus 62% in 2021.
Farmers received an average of $1,370 per ton, a decrease of $90 from the previous year. Cabernet Franc received the highest average price per ton at $2,074.
About the Washington State Wine Commission:
The Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC) represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, WSWC provides a marketing platform to raise positive awareness about the Washington wine industry and generate greater demand for its wines. Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, WSWC is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.