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Winemaker's Journal | Record grape crop

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Washington just keeps growing as one of the nation’s top wine producers.

Wine grape growers, mostly located in central and southcentral parts of the state, produced a record 270,000 tons of grapes last year. That eclipsed the previous record by some 40,000 tons, according to the Washington State Wine Commission. That’s a 22 percent increase over 2015 and an 18 percent increase over 2014, when the previous record was set.

Top grape varieties were Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling and Syrah.

So, how much wine will all those grapes produce? At about 60 cases per ton, 270,000 tons will rack up a good 16.2 million cases of wine. That’s 194.4 million standard wine bottles. I’m drunk just thinking about that.

Washington is by far the second leading wine producer in the nation. Heady stuff for sure, but beware of becoming too tipsy with all that wine. State wine grape production was a mere 1/16th of California’s 4 million ton production last year. And that wasn’t even a record crop for the nation’s number one wine producer.