By Karl Klooster • Staff Writer • 

A to Z leapfrogs into lead

According to winemakers, the best of the 2013s are exceptional, perhaps as good as the 2012s. Even at their worst, they are still quite acceptable, once again proving how Oregon vintners adapt to adversity.

Ranked below by quantity of production are Oregon’s 20 largest wineries and 20 leading brands, which are not necessarily the same.

Total production of the top 20 wineries is estimated at 2.02 million cases. That would represent about 65 percent of the state’s total 2013 production of 3.3 million cases, or nearly two-thirds.

There is a new numero uno in total production this year. A to Z Wineworks, on Highway 99W just west of Newberg, cranked out 298,000 cases. That had it leapfrogging longstanding leader King Estate of Lorane.

However, King Estate retained its top spot on the brand list, with an estimated 346,000 cases carrying King Estate branding.

Both wineries tallied huge gains over 2012. A to Z’s winery production represented a eye-popping 149.8 percent increase from last year’s 119,300. And King Estate’s brand production shot up 49.5 percent from last year’s 231,500.

Total production for the third place winery, 12th & Maple, is a matter of conjecture.

Its former owner, Precept Wines of Seattle, listed winery capacity at 217,000 cases. That’s the figure shown here, as it has a new owner who declined to release the information, most likely because it is now producing wine largely for corporate clients.

The Dundee winery appears to have taken over Erath production formerly undertake at the Erath Winery on Worden Hill Road in the Dundee Hills. In addition, the first wines for Kendall-Jackson’s new Oregon affiliate were made there. You might say 12th & Maple has become Oregon’s corporate custom crusher.

Since Erath does not respond to requests for such information either, the 140,000 figure given on the brand list is based on assumed growth from 125,000 cases in 2012.

Keep in mind that none of this correlates with actual sales. All of the different wines from a particular vintage would never be sold in a singular calendar year, and certainly not in the year the grapes were harvested. Case sales by any given winery in any given year will necessarily represent a mix of vintages and types.

Showing continued strength, NW Wine Co. placed fourth in total production. Having built a new winery in Dundee, and bought a few hundred more acres in the Eola Hills, it boosted production from 122,300 cases in 2012 to 165,000 in 2013.

Everybody should watch no-longer-little Union Wine Co. in Tualatin. It went from 40,000 cases in 2011, to 73,000 in 2012 and 97,900 in 2013.

Ryan Harms has something magic up a sleeve — or maybe in a can. Whatever the reason, No. 8 Union Wine, which is about to introduce wine in a can, is hot on the tails of the big boys.

I should mention that Copa di Vino apparently produces a significant quantity at its winery in The Dalles. But the winery does not divulge details of either its grape sourcing or wine production, so is not addressed here.

The News-Register strives to make its annual winery and brand report as accurate as possible. However, when production drops below the 25,000 to 30,000 case level, a number of wineries are closely clustered. If any winery feels it has been overlooked, please give us a call.

Karl Klooster can be reached by e-mail at or phone at 503-687-1227.



Help me understand how A to Z tops the production list at 298K cases, while King Estates is 2nd, yet has a brand list output of 346K cases. Perhaps some of King's brand production is produced by other wineries?

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