Discover key information on Washington wineries, wines and regions. Here you will find details of the history of their wines and an overview of some of its popular regions including Columbia Valley, Puget Sound and Columbia Gorge.
Wine lovers have grown and produced small quantities in here for over a hundred years. However, it wasn't until the late 1960s and early 1970s when the current industry started to take off.
The first wines appeared in the mid-1800s. At that time, both Italian and German immigrants planned and harvested small plots of vines to make their own wines.
Finally in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a few notable winemakers noticed the potential for this area to make commercial wine. So, they started planting. The first official winery was built around this same time and the first commercial wines from this area were produced in 1967.
Today, you will find more than 500 Washington wineries. There are also eleven official regions designated throughout the state.
Washington is only second in wine production in the US behind California.
Washington State wines are also making a name for themselves. There are now a number of wineries producing top tier Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, the 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon was served as part of an official White House dinner in January 2011.
Columbia Valley is the largest region in the state. Based on the last vineyard survey, about 99% of the grapes are grown by Columbia Valley wineries and vineyards.
This region has almost the perfect weather condition to grown amazing wines. It is at a similar latitude with both the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions in France.
It has long days in the summer, which can have up to 17 hours of sun. However, it doesn't get too hot during the day in the summer.
The wineries in this region get very little rain. This was initially a concern for growers. However, there is a large supply from water from the Columbia river which runs right through this region. They use the water from that river to irrigate their vines.
One risk for growers in this region is the cold winter weather. It can get below zero and possibly ruin the vines. Winemakers are willing to take this chance due to this region's potential to grow world class wines. So far, they have only lost their vines to the cold weather a couple of times.
Of the eleven wine regions in Washington, eight of them are inside the boundaries of the Columbia Valley region. The following regions are all located within the Columbia Valley area: Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Wahluke Slope, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Snipes Mountain, and Lake Chelan.
Learn even more about Columbia Valley and it's sub-regions:
The Columbia Gorge region is located in both Oregon and Washington State. About half of the wineries are located in Oregon and the other half are in Washington State. The Columbia River also runs through this region and the Columbia Gorge wineries are located on both sides.
Here you will find some of the most beautiful scenery. Although the wines aren't as well known, this region is worth a visit if you are in the area.
Find out more about the Columbia Gorge and pick up some tips for visiting this little known region.
The final region with Washington wineries is the Puget Sound region. This region is located in the Puget Sound area near Seattle. You'll find around 45 wineries here.
The temperatures in this region are a lot milder than the other regions in Washington. Because of this weather, the region focuses mainly on different types of white. However, they do grow some red including Pinot Noir.
Find recommendations for some of the best Washington State wineries from each region.
There are a number of great maps to help you plan your trip to visit the Washington wineries and wine regions. This resource guide has the wineries map you will need for your trip. It includes a list of winery maps for Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, Red Mountain wineries and more.
If you really enjoy Washington wineries, then you should investigate the option of joining a club. There are a number of great clubs that features a variety of wines from here. Find recommendations for some of the best ones including those that features multiple wineries and those that are managed just by one winery.
Most Washington wineries distribute their wines broadly -- so the great news for you is that they are easy to find. Although the state is very popular, you can still find some great wines from here at a great price.
My two favorite places to find wine online are Wine.com and Amazon. Wine.com has a great selection of fine wines. Amazon works with a number of online retailers, so here its easy to find a wider selection.
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