Walla Walla Valley AVA Vineyard Study Reports Growth, Change
WALLA WALLA, WA (August 10, 2018) — The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance has completed a study of all operating vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA). Whitman College Fellow Intern Yarden Blausaupp partnered with the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance to collect vineyard data including varietal information, acreage data, sustainable practices and more. Noteworthy findings revealed that Syrah overtook Merlot as the second most prevalent wine grape variety grown in the Walla Walla Valley and the top five varietals grown are Cabernet Sauvignon (36.4 percent), Syrah (18.3 percent), Merlot (16.1 percent), Cabernet Franc (6.6 percent) and Malbec (4.3 percent).
“The continued growth of vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley is a testament to the unique and diversified soils and growing conditions present here,” states Jason Magnaghi, Viticulturist with Leonetti Cellar and Figgins Family Wine Estates. “Growers and vintners work together to plant varieties where the wines will best express the qualities of the growing site; it’s an exciting time in our industry as we learn and grow together.”
The study, completed in July of 2018, compiled a total of 2,933 acres of grapes. As of 2016, there were 2,813 acres of grapes planted in the Walla Walla Valley AVA — a roughly 120-acre or 4.3 percent increase over a two-year period, indicating steady growth. The Walla Walla Valley AVA has the fifth largest acreage of vines in Washington State. The Walla Walla Valley AVA is a cross border AVA with 56.7 percent of the vines grown in Washington and 43.3 percent in Oregon; 25.8 percent of Oregon plantings are in the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, a sub-AVA of the Walla Walla Valley.
“The Walla Walla Valley is an epicenter of activity with a steady stream of investors purchasing and planting wine grapes as well as established wineries breaking ground on new projects throughout the Valley,” foresees Ashley Riggs, Chief Operating Officer of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “We are poised to grow beyond 3,000 acres in the very near future.”
The study also focused on the sustainability programs in place throughout the Walla Walla Valley, reporting the most common practices to be Low Input Viticulture & Enology (LIVE) Certified and Salmon-Safe Certified.
The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and its members will continue to monitor the growth of the Walla Walla Valley AVA and communicate that growth with visitors, media and industry members each year.