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No wine before its time

With the beginning of harvest a month away, Washington wine grape growers are receiving confirmation of what they have seen in their vineyards: The 2011 crop will be down significantly.

According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop estimate, Washington wine grape harvest will be down about 16 percent, to about 135,000 tons – down from a record 160,000 tons last fall. If the estimates are close to what vintners see in September and October, the crop will be at its lowest since 2007, when 127,000 tons were harvested.

“By the time we got to April and May, our initial crop estimates reflected this,” said Co Dinn, director of winemaking for Hogue Cellars in Prosser, one of Washington’s largest wineries. “We were braced for a big decrease.”

Bad news for wine-lovers. Do you enjoy wine? Do you have a current favorite?