Welcome to Washington State – a beautiful wine paradise filled with a mosaic of landscapes. From evergreen coasts and snow-capped mountains to vast sagebrush desert, it is here where the sun shines 300 days a year. A wild west of a wine country producing truly world class wines Washington State is a place every wine lover needs to put on their wine travel bucket list.
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Many of us may know Seattle, Washington as a wet and rainy city, but take a drive east past the Cascade mountains and nestled at the perfect wine growing latitude of 46 degrees is Washington State wine country. Here, vineyards are planted on volcanic soils, exceptionally suited for growing world-class grapes. Whether it’s Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet or any other of the 70 grape varieties grown, these wines are designed to impress the palate of any wine enthusiast.
Washington State is the second largest premium wine producer in the United States, with over 1,000 wineries and 16 American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s). Winning plenty of awards and high critical acclaim for its premium red wines Washington state wines are worth diving into and exploring. With enticing appellation names like Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, Columbia Valley, Snipes Mountain, Candy Mountain, Ancient Lakes and Walla Walla, the chapters to this adventure sound exciting, thrilling and suspenseful – perfect for the exploring traveler in you!
Washington wines are hand-crafted by ambitious, talented winemakers who bring out the purest of terroir. The wines show a balance of authentic fruit expressions balanced with old world structure. From organic and biodynamic farmers to minimal intervention, growers and vintners are small family run estates who believe in giving more back to the land what is taken from it.
The climate of Washington State is perfectly suited for premium wine growing. With ancient and lean soils, low natural pest and disease pressure, a vast difference in day to night temperatures, balanced with plenty of sunlight and the benefits of a rain shadow, this region is ideal for grape growing offering grapes the perfect place to ripen and develop. The 46 degrees latitude also parallels the Rhône
Valley in France if you’re looking for a region that compares. In fact, many Washington winemakers look to the Rhône Valley for inspiration for their wines!
The pacific northwest is rich in volcanic history, making the region, landscape and wines exceptionally special. Washington vineyards are sustainable by nature as there are arid temperatures and low humidity and wind to help control fungal diseases more naturally, reducing the need for chemical sprays on the vineyards. Historical moments created by the Missoula floods have helped to create this magical piece of geography and transformed the entire pacific northwest into a sight that is wonderful to see in person, and even more delightful to taste in your glass!
The Columbia Valley region encompases more than a quarter of the state and is Washington’s largest growing area at 11 million acres. Walla Walla is home to Washington’s oldest wineries and has the highest concentration of wineries in the state. Red Mountain is one of the smallest appellations and typically the warmest.
Open Your Liquid Passport
So what are you waiting for?! Open your liquid passport and taste the enchanting wines from Washington State. Visit and taste Washington from the comfort of your own home by exploring this region through the many wines available at wine shops in your area. Keep an eye out for the Pacific NorthWest region in the wine store and pick up something exciting to try!
Below are a few of my favourite bottles to get you started!
- Chateau Ste-Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon
- Château Ste-Michelle Chardonnay
- Columbia Crest Chardonnay
- Columbia Crest Cabernet
- Wines of Substance Cabernet
- Charles Smith Wines Kung Fu Girl Riesling