Small Northwest Winemakers May Have More Juice To Work With This Year

By Anna King

Northwest winemakers expect an abundance of high-quality juice to work with this year. Early crop reports from farmers say Washington and Oregon’s wine grape harvest appears to be up a tick for 2013.

Photo by Trey Busch, winemaker of Sleight of Hand Cellars in Walla Walla, Wash.In Oregon, winemakers appear to have hauled in as many as 20 percent more grapes this year than last, based on observations of larger-scale growers. In Washington this year, it looks like growers will haul in about 15 percent more fruit. Todd Newhouse is the general manager of Upland Vineyards in southeastern Washington. He says Washington growers benefited from a combination of a mild winter, warm spring and summer and a near-perfect fall.

Todd Newhouse: “It might be our best ever vintage we’ve ever had in Washington. So everyone’s going to benefit. I’ve talked to several prominent winemakers in the last week or two, and they are giddy. ”

In Idaho, wine grape farmers appear to be down by about 10 percent from last year. Winter damage and a late frost hurt growers in the Gem state, but a hot summer helped the remaining fruit ripen.

Photo: Photo by Trey Busch, winemaker of Sleight of Hand Cellars in Walla Walla, Wash.

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