This edition is designed to simplify your understanding by identifying growing trends, grape descriptions, the histories and future direction of the California, Washington and Oregon wine industry. It concisely profiles each state’s leading growing regions, rainfall statistics and prominent grapes based on the most recent available harvest data.
The 2021-2022 edition is ideal for wine collectors, winemakers and anyone who appreciates a world class Pacific Coast grown vintage. The following facts are just ten from hundreds of little known essentials included in the book:
1. California is the top producing state, Washington second and Oregon fourth (behind New York) in American wine grape production. California harvested over 3.54 million tons and Washington 178.5 thousand tons during the 2020 harvest. Oregon harvested 105.6 thousand tons during the 2019 harvest. Washington’s harvest is only 5% and Oregon’s 3% of California’s overall production. Oregon’s production is 59% of Washington’s.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon is California’s second most popular and highest priced red wine grape. It is Washington’s most popular and fifth highest priced and Oregon’s fifth most popular grape. The average Napa Valley grown grape is priced between two and twelve times more than competing states and regions within California.
3. California harvested 3.54 million tons of wine grapes during the 2020 harvest, a 9.2% reduction from the 2019 harvest, the second consecutive year of decreased production.
4. California has 4,610+, Washington 1000+, and Oregon 790+ wineries.. California has seventeen designated growing regions. Washington has fourteen and Oregon five.
5. The wildfires that raged throughout the Napa and Sonoma Valleys reduced the harvest in those regions 37.9% and 35.6%. The devastating fires in early October 2017 that raged through Napa and Sonoma Counties probably had no effect on production figures. Rather, overproduction from the previous two-year’s harvests have created a supply glut of unsold inventory. The difference with the 2020 fires is that they lasted throughout the summer months. The Glass Fire began on September 27th, at the height of the picking season.
6. The smoke taint on the harvested grapes is not reflected in the production statistics. Many of the grapes were harvest but not crushed. Many industry sources have considered the 2020 harvest a lost vintage for Napa and Sonoma as much of the juice will be de-classified or not bottled. Smoke taint may not become evident until after two years of tank storage.
7. Pinot Noir is Oregon’s largest harvested grape accounting for 57.8% of the state’s wine grape production and fifth highest priced. It is California’s sixth most popular.
8. Oregon’s production most closely compares with the Napa Valley growing region of California (99.3 thousand tons in 2020).
9. Chardonnay is California’s largest harvested grape accounting for 33.9% of the white wine grapes and 15.8% of the state’s overall yield. It is Washington’s second largest wine grape, most popular white wine grape. It is Oregon’s third largest produced.
10. California’s wines were considered the equal to European’s elite vintages in 1890. Following the phylloxera pest and Prohibition, the state would not regain their global reputation until the mid-1970s. Washington’s international reputation began during the 1990s and Oregon’s during the 1980s.
11. Real Estate valuation remains the most important financial consideration influencing the value of varietal grapes. Top-tiered Washington vineyards have commanded pricing between $75,000-$80,000 per acre. Large established vineyards have been documented to sell for $25,000-$30,000 and bare unplanted terrain often averages $10,000-$15,000 per acre. In Napa County, secondary vineyard lands begin at $90,000-$165,000 an acre. Prime vineyards range between $225,000-$300,000 and upwards per acre.