Washington’s wine industry is growing

WineAccording to a recent editorial in the Tacoma News Tribune, the value of Washington-grown wine to the state economy has increased nearly three times during the Great Recession of the past four years. Washington’s wine industry contributed $8.6 billion to the state’s economy last year, compared with $3 billion in 2007.

The article cited a study done by a California wine-industry consulting firm and concluded that more vineyards are needed in order to meet the growing demand for Washington wine.

“Eastern Washington, where most of the industry’s grapes are grown, has plenty of land for expansion – much of it planted in fruit trees. While some conversion to grapes is happening, hastening that depends to some extent on updating what the consultant called ‘the state’s complex water arrangements.’”

The editorial goes on to say that the Wine Science Center and teaching vineyard at the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus is beneficial to the cause. The recently signed capital budget includes $5 million for that $23 million project, and the wine industry recently committed to $7.4 million. The state’s largest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, has pledged $1 million. Finally, it concludes with:

“State lawmakers, who tend to focus on aerospace and high-tech industries, shouldn’t forget that about nurturing the state’s wine industry. And state residents can do their part – by buying Washington wines and encouraging restaurants they patronize to offer them.”