Washington 2009 crop forecast

Every year I receive the suggested price list and the estimated crop size from the Washington Association of  Wine Grape Grower (WAWGG for short and simple). There is plenty of information and fun comments in this very official release.

First there is an estimated crop size which WAWGG insist is not a harvest estimate. I am not sure I know the difference between an estimated crop size and a harvest estimate, but in for 2009 the estimated crop is 149,373 tons (about that for an “estimate”, glad they did not go 2 digits beyond that). That would put the crop size 3% over the actual 2008 harvest. It looks like we might have a fair amount of extra grapes on the market putting pressure on price (sounds like the car industry doesn’t it? about a cash for cluncker wines to help us out here?). The grapes with the most imbalance appear to be Riesling, Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Gris and Semillon. Cabernet and Chardonnay look to be in balance (hey guys, a bit of Riesling in your Chardonnay will make it taste great! Call me if you need any).

Second there is a list of prices per ton for each major varietal. I won’t reproduce here the list because there is an underlined statement  ”for members only” at the top and a couple statement on the bottom like “NOT FOR PUBLIC USE” and “NOT FOR MEDIA USE”. Sounds pretty secretive doesn’t it? Since I don’t want to be shot by Joe and Moe (both officially “customer service representative” for WAWGG) I won’t go into the details. Let’s say that prices are a bit softer this year on average.

Finally there is a break down of the “estimated crop size” by varietal. Good to see the Riesling is clearly #1 with a good 2,000 tons lead over good old Chardonnay. No other breaking news.

Hope I did not reveal all the secret… Please don’t send Joe and Moe….

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Contribute factual content, a personal tale, data or – possibly (Heaven forfend) – a sincere correction.  You’ll likely find your contribution in Riesling Rules Second Edition due to be published in winter 2008.