Washington Wineries Expecting a Great Year

Washington Wineries Expecting a Great Year
PROSSER -- Earlier this year, some local wine growers said they were starting to feel the pinch of the economy. Consumers were buying less expensive bottles of wine. And that forced some wineries to make changes to keep their overall costs down. Now that harvest is in full swing, are they still feeling the pinch?

" It's almost like we're in the eye of the storm right now. It's a little calm and we're getting cleaned up, ready for the second half of harvest," said Co Dinn, Director of Winemaking at The Hogue Cellars.

The sudden change in weather has slowed things down just enough for a quick breather for hogue cellars. The hot summer started things off with a bang.

Dinn said, " The early variety that came in, all came in in a big rush. We're going to have almost two crushes this year."

And that's good news for this wine grower, that prides itself on having affordable wine choices. You can pick up a bottle of Hogue for under $10.00. While other, more expensive wines are staying on the shelves longer, Hogue is moving it's wine quickly.

" We're seeing sales increase at our price points," said Dinn.

In fact, the Washington Wine Commission said that's true for most of the wine growers in our state. Washington seems to be holding strong and even picking up market shares from other, more expensive states like California. Overall, the 2009 wine grape harvest should be a money maker for Washington growers. And a taste sensation for they buyer.

Dinn said, " The syrah is absolutely phenomenal this year."

Interestingly enough the wine tourist season has dropped by about 20 percent from last year. Still, that's not affecting overall sales to grocery and specialty stores and restaurants.