Agriculture + Viticulture

Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business’ full-color, glossy magazine Focus: Agriculture + Viticulture takes a closer look at how our region serves as the powerhouse that drives our state’s agriculture and viticulture industries. This magazine is published in the spring.

Kent Waliser, director of vineyard operations for Sagemoor Vineyards, just north of the Tri-Cities, grows 60 percent of its grapes for red wine and 40 percent for white wines. (Photo: Washington State Wine Commission/Andrea Johnson Photography)

Steady growth: Wine grape demand nearly outpaces supply

Washington has developed a reputation for over-delivering on the quality of wine as it relates to the price of the bottle, creating an increasing demand for the state’s wine grapes. “You can’t make good wine with bad grapes,” said Vicky Sharlau, executive director of the Washington Winegrowers Association. In the past five years, acres dedicated…

Concord grapes

Concord costs: The quest to keep juice grapes profitable

Washington produces more juice grapes than any other state in the nation, fueling the building blocks for not just juice, but also jelly, fruit leather and syrup. Despite sitting atop the U.S. supply, the state acreage of juice grapes has declined slightly in the past several years. People aren’t buying juice as often as they…

After hops are separated, they make their way to a conveyor belt where they then move on to a kiln to be dried. Washington boasts nearly 70 percent of U.S. hop production, with 98 percent of U.S. hops grown throughout the Northwest. (Photo: Hops of America)

Tops for hops: U.S. dominates world market

After five years of unprecedented growth, the Northwest hop industry has been almost single-handedly responsible for establishing the U.S. as the No. 1 producer of hops in the world, accounting for 42 percent of all production. Washington boasts nearly 70 percent of U.S. production, with 98 percent of U.S. hops grown throughout the Northwest, according…

A January 2016 study by Washington State University-Pullman found the state’s potato industry generates $7.42 billion in total economic output for Washington. (Photo: Washington Potato Commission)

Potato powerhouse: State ranks No. 2 in nation for potatoes

Potatoes are Washington state’s third top commodity, behind apples and milk, valued at $888 million last year, up from $813 million in 2016. This year’s outlook looks promising, with most of the state’s potatoes grown in Eastern Washington and the Skagit Valley and producing 20 percent of all U.S. potatoes. “Last year, Washington state produced…

Favorable growing conditions allow Washington wheat growers to produce some of the highest yields in the nation. (Photo: Washington State Department of Agriculture)

Looming concerns: Wheat farmers wary of proposed trade policies

By Jennifer L. Drey Washington wheat farmers face challenging times as the industry navigates changes in U.S. trade policy and potential cuts to crop insurance and key conservation programs included in the U.S. Farm Bill. Industry representatives have already taken to Washington, D.C., to make sure they have a seat at the table as the…