Washington Winegrowers held their annual convention and trade show last week at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, WA. There were many informative sessions and the mood was generally upbeat despite concerns over the Coronavirus and economic uncertainties.
I delivered a presentation focused on Washington wine industry trends during the State of the Industry Session. The session also featured stimulating talks from Rob McMillan of Silicon Valley Bank, Jim Mortensen from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Lulie Halstead with Wine Intelligence, and Doug Frost from Echolands Winery.
A few highlights from my presentation:
- Wine shipments were flat in 2019 and have seen little growth over the last five years
- DtC sales continue to expand at a robust pace and the state's small wineries are outperforming their larger counterparts in terms of shipment growth
- Bonded wine inventories have swelled in Washington in recent years
- The outlook for shipment growth remains muted given softening national wine sales and elevated economic risks
- The Washington grape market is suffering from a structural imbalance between supply and demand that will likely require substantial vineyard removals to rectify