Winemakers in Washington State have reported a record grape harvest for the third consecutive year, reflecting stronger investment in the US region’s vineyards.

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Washington State has seen harvests grow due to new plantings

Washington
’s total wine grape harvest for 2014 was 227,000 tonnes, up by 8% on 2013, according to figures from the US Department of Agriculture.

Steve Warner, president of the Washington State Wine trade body, said he expected more record years to follow, as new vineyard plantings begin to produce fruit.

‘Barring any weather events, this will likely be a continuing trend,’ he said. ‘It’s an exciting time for the industry.’
Several investors have arrived in Washington in the last few years, including California’s Duckhorn Vineyards and Canada’s Aquilani Investment Group.

Cabernet Sauvignon became the state’s biggest grape variety in 2013 and the region’s reputation was enhanced by L’Ecole No 41’s Ferguson’ 2011 wine, from the Red Mountain AVA, winning the International Trophy for Best Bordeaux Blend Over £15 at last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.

But, Washington’s recent harvest increases remain small when set against California’s 4m-tonne harvests of 2012 and 2013.

In 2014, California’s grape haul dropped by 8% to 3.9m tonnes, the state’s department of food and agriculture said this week.

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Written by Chris Mercer