by Erin James
Grab the NASA-approved sunglasses and get ready to look toward the sun: America’s first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly…
Washington’s premium wine production spans over an estimated 50,000 acres and 14 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). The upper-most corner of the United States maintains diverse and optimal growing conditions, though most wine grapes grow in the rain shadow of arid, Eastern Washington. Get to know these six hidden gems for Washington Wine Month.
Ancient Lakes | The Ancient Lakes region is newer to the state, only becoming an official AVA in 2012.
For the last six years, Juan Muñoz-Oca has been heading the 1.2 million-case production of Columbia Crest‘s Paterson, Washington, winery. As the third largest producer in the state, the collection — which includes the Reserve, H3 and Grand Estates wines — has a lot to live up to, from variety to value and quality.
Along the North Clark County Scenic Drive, on the grounds of a 117-year-old homestead, the next Pomeroy generation is busy adding his mark to the family legacy. Winemaker Dan Brink is the great-great-grandson of farm founder, E.C. Pomeroy, and owner of Pomeroy Cellars.
“I always tell people that come to the tasting room that every generation on the farm has made their own direction,” Brink explains. “My parents started the living history farm.
If you haven’t heard the good news, it’s Washington State Wine Month. To celebrate the season and fit in with the pros, we’ve compiled some basic knowledge and five fast facts* for you to tout when talking about the Evergreen State’s wine scene, wine glass in hand.
Big deal, BIG.
Washington is the second largest premium wine producer in the United States, second only to California.
We got a whole lotta love.
If you’ve been almost anywhere in the Pacific Northwest over the last week, you’ve noticed a persistent and unpleasant haze, the highly visible effect of massive wildfires in British Columbia. While most might have worried about air quality or the risk to people and property up there, I was mostly concerned about the effect wildfires might have on this year’s vintage.
Today is Day 1 of Washington State Wine Month, a 31-day, wine-fueled celebration of the state’s viticulture and enology scene. With more than 900 wineries and 350 vineyards, Washington is the second largest producer of premium wine and has been doing so successfully and continuously since 1967. Given those numbers and that experience, wine drinkers can anticipate a whole state-full of events, from solo winery special releases to multi-producer affairs.
Before Gary Figgins founded Leonetti Cellar in 1977, when it grew to become Walla Walla’s first commercial winery, he spent many childhood summers exploring the property’s sprawling acres. His maternal grandparents had settled there after immigrating from Calabria, Italy, in the early 1900s – and when the Leonettis eventually turned their 20-acre garden farm into a vineyard, a young Figgins’ interest was piqued.
The stunning contrasts in the view from the multi-tiered patio of Treveri Cellars is reason enough to linger for an afternoon. Lush winery landscaping gives way to the arid and undulating hills of the Cascade Mountain Range punctuated by Mt. Adams off in the distance.
What is inside every bottle is, of course, what draws visitors to this sparkling wine house located near Yakima, Washington. Legacy is poured into every tasting room glass and crafted in the onsite production room.
Summer is perhaps the best season for wine, but it’s also the best season for not taking wine too seriously. It’s the time of year to throw expectations and customs a bit out the window in the name of having a bit of fun. After all, who wants to lug wine glasses to the top of a mountain or out on a kayak when you don’t have to?
Fortunately there are more and more ways to do exactly that, many of them offered by Northwest winemakers.