Washington State Wine Country

April 29th, 2008 by Mariah

Washington State - the perfect climate for wine = ideal growing conditions, quality wines, business innovation, lifestyle, and social responsibility. All are key elements of this world-class wine industry. Although a relatively young wine industry, it is now the nation’s second largest wine producer and is ranked among the world’s top wine regions. Washington wines are found nationally in all 50 states and internationally in more than 40 countries.With 30,000+ acres planted, the state has ideal geography and conditions for growing premium vinifera wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, the vines produce grapes of consistent quality, resulting in strong vintages year after year. While its focus is on Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the region also produces a wide range of other spectacular whites and reds.Winemakers from all over the world have chosen to establish themselves in Washington, where they can create wines reflecting this region’s unique characteristics. Their hand-crafted wines are receiving wide acclaim from critics regionally, nationally and internationally for their consistently high quality. Many of them have received scores of 90 and above from the major wine media. Overall this is a higher percentage than other leading wine regions. The Yakima Valley was Washington State’s first appellation and includes more than 40 wineries and 11,000 vineyard acres Walla Walla has more than 65 wineries with predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Syrah. Growing season of 190 to 220 days, with annual rainfall averaging 12.5 inches per year.The Columbia Valley is Washington’s largest viticultural region, covering almost 11 million acres representing a full third of Washington State’s land mass. There are approximately 45 wineries in the Puget Sound region, which has a temperate climate – rarely suffering from prolonged freezes in winter and enjoying mild and dry summers.Red Mountain has a 180 day growing season with just 6-8 inches of rain. Widely planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Sangiovese.Marine influences from the Columbia River meet dry air from eastern Washington in the Columbia Gorge. Warm days and cool nights provide full, ripe flavor profiles and good acid levels.This region has steep, south-facing slopes for optimum vineyard locations, and quick-draining silty loam soils.The 81,000 acre region features approximately 5,200 acres of vineyards – Merlot, Syrah, Cab, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc. Wahluke Slope has one of the driest, warmest climates in the state.Encompassing hills, running east to west along the northern point of the Yakima River. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling.