The 2022 Washington Wine Grape Production Report has just been released, reflecting a 34% increase from the previous year. This follows the excitement of a big month for the winemakers of Washington State, who have just celebrated Taste Washington Wine Month encouraging customers and buyers to try a new-to-them-wine.
“Winemakers and growers alike are thrilled about the quality of the 2022 fruit, with exceptional flavors and high natural acidity,” said Chris Stone, vice president of Marketing and Communications at the Washington State Wine Commission in a press release. “It’s a standout vintage for Washington wine.”
Washington is second in state wine production volume only to California with 103,130 tons of white wine grapes and 136,870 tons of red wine grapes harvested during the 2022 season. According to the report, these figures represent a 50% increase in white grapes and a 23% increase in red wine grapes. This is due to larger berries and clusters thanks to warm weather in late September and early October. “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.
This could further satisfy the growing thirst for white wines, similar to investments happening in other regions around the world. Perhaps fans can expect more options as this vintage moves to maturity. Classic Washington favorites still lead the charge. Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris top production for white wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah top the red wine output.
While many wine regions have welcoming villages and towns, Washington has a gem in Woodinville with its 130 tasting rooms spread across four districts representing wineries from throughout the state. Woodinville is unique in that the tasting rooms in town represent wineries and vineyards from various locations, so it is possible to truly examine the diversity of products while staying right in town. (Personal favorite lodging is Willows Lodge and dinner at The Barking Frog and The Lounge Restaurant at DeLille Cellars are highly recommended.)
And there is a bounty of wineries to explore — the Washington Wine Grape Production Report also revealed that 20 new wineries were born in 2022 alone, amounting to a total of 1,070. Consider that ten years ago, there were fewer than 800 wineries in the state of Washington. From the prominent and historic Chateau Ste. Michelle, the oldest winery in the state since 1912, to DeLille Cellars which just celebrated a 30-year anniversary, to Andrew Januik Wines led by a 31-year-old winemaker, Woodinville presents a veritable graduation of the longevity, unique wine styles, and innovation of the state. And each of these three establishments are truly incredible to visit.
According to Washington State Wine Commission, there are 20 different AVAs (distinguished growing areas) within the state. Columbia Valley AVA, established in 1984, contains 99% of the grapes grown in Washington State and is divided into a number of AVAs. This process is ever-developing. Take for example Rocky Reach AVA which was just approved in 2022.
The reports are exciting, and they represent the energy one feels when visiting this region. Guests can count on an enthusiastic welcome and more itinerary stops than can be prioritized in one visit. There are high expectations for Washington wine!
Other interesting data points from the 2022 report:
- Cabernet Franc scored the highest price per ton at $2,074. It is fifth in production.
- The top seven varieties equal nearly 90% of the overall production.
- Pinot Gris output grew by 70% and Sauvignon Blanc output lifted by 54%.
- The top two grapes in each category continued to experience an increase in production — Cabernet Sauvignon is up 32% and Chardonnay is up 54%