- Dry pink wines extend rosé trend in Pacific Northwest
- Oregon wine leader King Estate promotes winemaker Brent Stone to COO
- Metropolitan Grill in Seattle receives rare Grand Award from Wine Spectator
- Maryhill Winery preps for final concert at its amphitheater
- Washington wine research seminar set for July 11 in Woodinville
- Taste of Cascadia gathers 20 top winemakers to The Lodge at Columbia Point
- Brian Carter rosé rises to top of Washington State Wine Competition
- Tiny Grantwood Winery tops Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition
- Savor Idaho serves as delicious barometer for Idaho wine industry
- 2018 vintage for Northwest wine growers tracks ahead of hot 2015
Great value reds from Great Northwest
When looking at affordable red wines, there are two considerations: sub-premium box and jug wines typically produced in California and premium wines at less than $15 per bottle.
The vast majority of California jug wine is made from grapes grown in high quantity (more than 10 tons per acre) in the arid Central Valley. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s virtually impossible to grow grapes at that level, so the focus here is on higher quality, similar to such California regions as Napa, Sonoma, the Central Coast and the Sierra Foothills.
It is not unusual to hear about red wine grapes being cropped to two to four tons per acre. Depending on the region, such grapes will cost upward of $1,500 per ton for Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s simply little way to make a value premium wine with those numbers.
But when a “production vineyard” is used on, say, Washington’s Wahluke Slope, tonnage per acre can rise to six, and the grapes can be sold for much less (often less than $1,000 per ton). A winemaker usually gets about 60 cases of wine per ton of red grapes, so the cost per bottle begins to drop dramatically when the price per ton drops below $1,000.
Other factors for the cost of making the wine include: barrels (new or used), winemaking salaries, packaging, marketing and shipping. One somewhat hidden cost is that the wine typically isn’t released until two years after harvest, and that’s a lot of inventory demanding space and labor.
Here are a dozen delicious and affordable Northwest red wines, all priced at $15 or less.