Washington wine-grape crop pops off despite a cold, wet spring

Ideal conditions in late fall made the 2022 yield the third-largest in recent years.

Grapes yet to be harvested at Boushey Vineyards in the Yakima Valley

Grapes yet to be harvested at Boushey Vineyards in the Yakima Valley on Aug, 31, 2021. (Matt M. McKnight/Crosscut)

In 2022, Washington wine grape growers produced the state’s third-largest wine grape crop in the past 13 years, avoiding the adverse effects of the year’s weather, which hampered other crops. 

Growers harvested 240,000 tons of wine grapes in 2022, a 34% increase from 2021, according to the Washington State Wine Commission’s annual Grape Production Report. The 2022 crop ranks just behind the 2016 crop of 270,000 tons and the 2018 crop of 261,000.

The cold and wet weather earlier in the year, which hampered many agricultural commodities such as sweet cherries and apples, pushed back the grape harvest several weeks. Growers picked little fruit in September, typically a peak harvest month. However, warm weather and ideal growing conditions in late September and October provided sufficient ripening time, resulting in a heavier and higher-quality crop.

Together, the top seven wine grape varieties — cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, riesling, merlot, syrah, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris — made up 88% of the 2022 crop. Most of the grapes — 136,870 tons, about 57% of the total crop — were red varieties, though white varieties such as chardonnay and riesling saw a more significant increase. The 2022 white wine grape crop increased by 50% from a year ago to 103,130 tons. Cabernet sauvignon was the top wine grape variety at 67,015 tons, followed by chardonnay at 39,450 tons.

Washington, the second-largest wine grape-producing state behind California, is home to 1,070 wineries, according to the Washington State Wine Commission, a government agency representing wineries and grape growers. 

Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors