Washington wine reports warm year, low yields and good quality in 2021

The Washington State Wine Commission’s (WSWC) annual production report for 2021 shows last years’ grape harvest was impacted by record-breaking heat, resulting in low yields of high quality fruit.

According to a press release from WSWC, both 2020 and 2021 were small harvests, but for 2021, the key factor that influenced yield size across the state was the historic heat event in June. Growers reported that vineyards were still able to produce during the extreme heat, however it did contribute to a reduction in grape size and cluster size. Despite the weather setback, 179,600 tons of wine grapes were harvested in 2021, just slightly more than 2020.


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"Though a very warm year, temperatures did cool down to allow for extended ripening through September and October," explained Steve Warner, President of the WSWC. "Our winemakers and growers reported the overall quality of the fruit to be fantastic with great flavor and concentration."

  • Cabernet Sauvignon was Washington’s most produced variety for 2021, and has been the reigning variety since 2015. For 2021, it came in at 50,865 tons, 28% of the total.
  • Chardonnay came in second at 25,675 tons, 14% of the total.
  • Reisling, Merlot, Syrah, and Savignon Blanc rounded out the top six, which altogether equated to 84% of the crop, according to WSWC.

The WSWC is also reporting several varieties doing exceptionally well during the heat wave. Syrah grew by 15%, and Sauvignon Blanc grew by 8% since 2020. 

WSWC is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit their website here. 


120 degrees from historic June heat wave confirmed as Washington statewide heat record

The historic heatwave that blistered the Pacific Northwest in June just added another record to the pile of over 200 records that were shattered during the several-day event: Washington's all-time highest temperature recorded.

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