Washington State is a premium wine producing region located in the northwest corner of the United States. Although a relatively young wine industry, it is 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.

page_about_pht003With 40,000 acres planted, the state has ideal geography and conditions for growing premium vinifera wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, which support healthier plants, vines produce grapes of consistent quality, resulting in strong vintages year after year. While wine grape growers in Washington focus on Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the region also produces a wide range of other spectacular white and red wines.

From Italy to Australia, 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 consistent high quality. Many of them have received scores of 90 and above from major wine media. Overall, Washington receives a higher percentage of high scores from principal wine publications than other leading wine regions.

As the state's fourth largest fruit crop, the Washington wine industry is an important contributor to the long term preservation of Washington agriculture. The industry is committed to sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of water resources. Washington is also home to wineries that are certified organic and biodynamic.

Washington's wine industry generates more than $3 billion to the state economy and it employs more than 14,000 people directly and indirectly. Wine grapes are among the highest tax generators of any agricultural crops in terms of tax revenues accrued to the state and federal government. Furthermore, Washington wine tourism attracts nearly two million visitors annually, contributing to the positive growth of local and regional economies.

Washington State - the perfect climate for wine is the symbiotic relationship of ideal growing conditions, quality wines, business innovation, lifestyle, and social responsibility. All are key elements of this world-class wine industry.

YAKIMA VALLEY - established 1983

  • Washington’s first appellation
  • 60+ wineries
  • 16,042 vineyard acres (6492hectares), over one third of Washington’s vineyards.
  • Top Varieties produced: Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Syrah
  • Silt-loam soils predominate allowing proper drainage necessary to keep vine’s vigor under control.
  • 190 day growing season with annual precipitation of approximately 8 inches (203mm).

WALLA WALLA VALLEY - established 1984

  • Grape growing began in the 1850s by Italian immigrants.
  • Approximately 100 wineries
  • More than 1,600 acres vineyards (648 hectares)
  • Top Varieties produced: Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading varietal while Merlot, Chardonnay and Syrah are other predominant varieties.
  • Loess derived soils which are essentially unconsolidated, unstratified calcareous silt.
  • Growing season of 190 to 220 days, with annual rainfall averaging 12.5 inches (318mm) per year.

COLUMBIA VALLEY - established 1984

  • 6,851 vineyard acres (2772.7 hectares)
  • Approximately 100 wineries
  • Top Varieties produced: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah
  • Growing season of 180-200 days with annual rainfall averaging 6 to 8 inches (152-203mm).
  • The Columbia Valley contains the American Viticultural Regions of Red mountain, Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys, Wahluke Slope, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Snipes Mountain, and Lake Chelan within its borders.

PUGET SOUND - established 1995

  • More than 69 vineyards acres (28 hectares)
  • Approximately 45 wineries
  • The temperate climate rarely suffers from prolonged freezes in winter and enjoys long mild and dry summers.
  • Semi-permeable cemented subsoil allows the deep-rooted vinifera vines to survive the late summer soil water deficit.
  • Precipitation averages 15 inches to 30 inches (381-762mm) per year, mostly falling in the winter dormant season, with a growing season of over 180 days.
  • Top varieties produced: Madeleine Angevine, Siegerebbe, Muller-Thugau
  • Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir also show promise in this appellation.

RED MOUNTAIN - established in 2001

  • Over 1199 vineyard acres
  • 15+ wineries
  • Top varieties produced: Cabernet Sauvognon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sangiovese, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
  • The area has a desert climate with average yearly rainfall of 5 inches per year.
  • During the growing season daytime temperatures average 90˚F (32℃), with night time temperatures dropping below 50˚F (10℃).

COLUMBIA GORGE - established in 2004

  • Approximately 500 planted acres of vinifera
  • 20+ wineries
  • Western vineyards have a cool, marine influenced climate where it rains 40 inches a year—ideal for cool-weather loving varietals like Pinot Noir, Gewurztramoner, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling.
  • Eastern vineyards have a continental high desert climate with just 10 inches of annual rainfall but plentiful sunshine to ripen hot-weather Bordeaux. Rhone and Italian varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel and Barbera.
  • Soils vary just as dramatically as the rain and sunshine: from red from old volcanic mudstone to gray showing fragments of basalt rock.
  • Vineyard altitudes vary from near sea level to close to 2000.

HORSE HEAVEN HILLS - established in 2005

  • Growers have raised grapes in this region since 1972.
  • 10,130 vineyard acres (4099 hectares)
  • 6 wineries
  • Top varieties produced: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah
  • Proximity to the Columbia River creates 30% more wind while moderating temperature extremes providing steep south-facing slopes for optimum vineyard locations and providing well-drained sandy-loam soils.

WAHLUKE SLOPE - established in 2006

  • 5,652 vineyard acres (2100 hectares)
  • More than 20 vineyards and at least three wine production facilities.
  • Top grape varieties: Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc.
  • Wahluke Slope has the driest, warmest climates in the state, allowing nealy complete control of vine vigor and ripening through irrigation.

RATTLESNAKE HILLS - established in 2006

  • The first commercial vineyards in the region date back to 1968.
  • Approximately 1566 vineyard acres (634 hectares)
  • 17 wineries
  • Top grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, , Riesling
  • Beginning at an elevation of 850 feet and rising up to 3,085 feet, the viticultural area sits higher in elevation than the surrounding Yakima Valley region.
  • Vineyards are typically located on ridges and terraces and in areas with good air drainage to avoid late spring and early fall frost and winter kill.

SHIPES MOUNTAIN - established 2009

  • Vineyards have been planted on Snipes Mountain and Harrison Hills since 1914.
  • Washington State’s second oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines have been producing grapes on Harrison Hill for more than 40 years.
  • 759 vineyard acres
  • Both slopes rocky soils and elevation levels
  • 6 wineries and second smallest AVA followed Red Mountain in Washington

LAKE CHELAN - established in 2009

  • 227 planted vineyard acres
  • 15 Wineries
  • The soil surrounding it has distinctive properties such as coarse, sandy sediment with notable amounts of quartz and mica, and these result in grapes with discernable textures, minerals, and nutrients.
  • Lake effect that creates mild and favorable temperatures for surrounding areas, resulting in a longer growing season and a reduced risk of frost.
  • Top grape varieties: Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Riesling, Pinot Gis, Geztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

NACHES HEIGHTS - established in 2012

  • About 40 acres planted to wine grapes
  • The first grapes planted were Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Syrah in 2002.
  • 2 wineries
  • All are farmed sustainably, biodynamically, or organically.
  • The soil is comprised of windblown soil, also known as loess, which is heavy in clay.
  • Around 10 to 13 inches of rain fall annually and it is considered a cooler region for Washington State.
  • At elevations ranging from 1,200 to 2,100 feet.

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