Over the past 15 years, one of the largest and fastest areas of growth in the wine industry has been the thriving wine region of Washington State. In 1997, Washington had 17,000 acres of vineyards, and contained 101 wineries. Twenty years later, in 2017, Washington now has over 50,000 acres of vineyards, and is home to over 900 wineries! In the past decade alone, production and amount of wineries has almost doubled, making Washington the second largest premium wine producer in the United States. Consequently, we have seen a huge rise in the popularity of Washington wine, and it’s presence on wine lists and retail shelves.
Washington has an ideal climate for wine, growing nearly 40 different varietals in 14 different AVAs across the state. The varietals of Bordeaux and Rhone grow particularly well here, and are an ideal contrast to the Pinot Noir focus of Oregon, its southern neighbor. For whites, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris are also popular.
Due to the arid climate of Eastern Washington, it is relatively free of pests and powdery mildew, the top two issues for grapevines in the world. This allows them to spray very little each growing season, sometimes not at all. Very few chemical-based anti-fungicides are required, leading to more sustainable vineyard practices, and vibrant, healthy vines, soils, and water sources.
Wines from Washington have the best ratio of “prices to scores” in the world- meaning the most 90+ point-rated wines each year at the best average price. Whether you prefer whites or reds, light-bodied or full, Washington has something for everyone. So, on your next visit to your favorite restaurant or wine shop, pick up a bottle and see what all the buzz is about.