Washington wine industry shows no signs of slowing down

It’s only fitting we have a whole month to celebrate Washington wines as it’s one of the biggest industries in our state, estimated at about $4.8 billion.

Now, state colleges are helping students to get degrees in the wine-making field. Washington State University even has a Wine Science Center.

The industry has seen rapid growth over the last decade, and it seems there is no sign of slowing down – only expansion.

Josh Wade started blogging about Washington wines ten years ago. He then opened a co-op for a few wineries in downtown Spokane and now owns Nectar, a beer and wine shop in Kendall Yards that boasts 50 percent Washington-made products.

He says Washington wine is a hot topic even outside of the state as other parts of the country are wanting product on their shelves. He thinks smaller to medium-size wineries need to get their distribution to expand out to larger cities.

“The other side of that is most Washington wineries, about 80%, they make 5,000 or less cases a year and they have no problem selling those in their immediate region so there’s not really a demand for it to go outside of that area,” he said.

Wade believes we will continue to see is bigger wineries buying smaller wineries to help them get to that next level of distribution.

Wade also thinks even more land development is in the cards with water rights being granted to certain regions of the Columbia Valley as well as a continuance of California wineries purchasing property here.