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Cabernet rises to fore in record Washington grape crush

Wineries in Washington state saw a record grape harvest in 2013, with Cabernet Sauvignon the most popular variety, offering more evidence of the wine region's rise to prominence.

Washington state’s Red Mountain AVA

Washington’s wine grape crush increased by 12% in 2013 versus 2012, to 210,000 tonnes, according to figures released by the US Department of Agriculture this week.

The total fits many times into California’s consecutive 4m-tonne harvests of 2013 and 2012, but the figures add more evidence of rising investment in Washington.

Cabernet Sauvignon overtook Chardonnay and Riesling in 2013 to become Washington’s biggest grape variety, with 42,600 tonnes harvested – a 19% increase on 2012 and representing one fifth of the total 2013 harvest.

Chardonnay and Riesling came in at 40,500 and 40,200 tonnes respectively, with Merlot the fourth most harvested variety, on 36,000 tonnes.

In late 2013, Napa’s Duckhorn Vineyards and Canada’s Aquilini Investment Group became the latest investors to announce they have laid down roots in Washington.

Duckhorn plans to launch a $40-a-bottle 2012 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington’s Red Mountain AVA later this year. Aquilini bought 270ha of ‘prime vineyard land’ in the state’s Pasco area in a deal worth around $16m.

Written by Chris Mercer

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