It’s Washington wine month! There is so much to love about Washington State Wine. Take this month to explore and learn!
Did you know…Washington State is the second largest wine-producing region in the U.S.?
Located in the northwest corner of the United States in a region commonly referred to as the Pacific Northwest. The state ranks second in the U.S. in wine grape production behind California, though it is a very distant second (2013 grape production by ton was 210K for Washington State, 4.6 M for California).
Why is Washington wine unique? Here are just a few reasons!
GROWERS GROW GRAPES AND WINERIES MAKE WINES
In the traditional grape-growing model, wineries are located next to or close to their vineyard sources. Washington, generally, completely breaks this model. Many wineries are located dozens and even hundreds of miles from the vineyards they work with. Additionally, many contract their grapes rather than establishing their own vineyards.
This gives the wineries a number of advantages. It allows wineries to set up shop wherever they like, be it near the consumer hub of Seattle or in the far reaches of the state that they call home. It gives the wineries flexibility; they aren’t tied to a single vineyard source in a single location which means that wineries can experiment with vineyards all across Washington. They can make a wine that blends, say, Cabernet Sauvignon from the Horse Heaven Hills with Merlot from Red Mountain and Petit Verdot from the Wahluke Slope, in essence taking what they feel is the best from each location. Using a diversity of sites also helps keep quality consistent across vintages. Lastly, working with a diversity of sites in different locations also helps protect against disruptions caused by Washington’s occasional spring and fall frosts and winter freezes.
WINES HAVE A BALANCE OF NEW WORLD AND OLD WORLD STYLES
Varietal typicity and pure fruit flavors are the hallmarks of Washington wine. What does this mean? It means that Cabernet Sauvignon invariably tastes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot like Merlot. The flavors have a New World sense of purity and plushness while retaining the tannin and acid structure Old World wine regions are more commonly known for.
WASHINGTON STATE IS NOT DEFINED BY A SINGLE GRAPE OR EVEN GROUP OF GRAPES
Unlike many wine regions, Washington cannot be defined by a single grape or even a group of grapes. While Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Riesling and Chardonnay are the most common in terms of production and plantings, over 30 varieties are planted and experimentation continues.
There is so much more to know and love. The source of information in this post is the Washington State Wine Commission. Check out the Washington State Wine Commission website for more awesome information about Washington State Wine!