Wine production in Washington state is located in the southeast portion of the state. The area is growing rapidly and now has 25,000 acres in production. The region is divided into three regions, the Columbia Valley, the Yakima Valley and Walla Walla, but grapes from any of these regions can be sold as Columbia Valley AVA.
Conditions in Washington are cool and dry since the Cascade Mountains provide a rain break that eliminates influence from the Pacific. The region is technically a desert, and vines would not survive without irrigation. Cold weather damage in the winter is fairly common and the summers are hot. The positive side of this climate is that phylloxera only survives with difficulty, and many vines are ungrafted.
Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape in Washington and Cabernet Sauvignon is also very popular. The area has also had considerable success with Merlot, and Syrah is the varietal that is most rapidly increasing in acreage.
[Link to this Entry]