It may have felt hot this summer. But among rows of wine grapes high up in the Horse Heaven Hills 40 miles south of Prosser, Jarrod Boyle has rather enjoyed the weather.
"I’m not complaining about it," said the wine grape grower and winemaker with a laugh.
After two dicey years, growers and the rest of the state’s $8.6 billion wine industry are breathing a sigh of relief for the favorable weather and looking forward to harvesting what might be a record crop in the coming weeks.
"We are very confident we are likely going to see a new record," said Ryan Pennington, a spokesman for the Washington Wine Commission.
A combination of warm weather and new acreage may combine to push this year’s crop to 200,000 tons, well above the previous record of 160,000 tons in 2010.
June was cool and growth was slow but the vines caught up easily in early July. And some growers experienced hail damage, but it came in isolated pockets small enough to not skew the statistics.
For more, see: Valley grape growers giddy over possible record harvest