Overview


Washington Wine Report is an independent publication focused on bringing Northwest wine to you and bringing you to Northwest wine. Our goal is:
  • To help you select Pacific Northwest wines at a variety of price levels
  • To keep you up-to-date about the Northwest’s wineries, vineyards, and individuals
  • To help you plan trips to wine country
  • To connect you to the larger wine community

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Reviewed Wineries

The September issue of Seattle Metropolitan magazine is now in stores and features this year's list of the Top 100 Washington wines.

A few words about how I compiled the list this year. As stated in the article, wineries were allowed to send in a maximum of five wines, one in each of the following categories: one $15 or less; one $25 or less; one $25–$50; one $50 or higher; and one white wine of any price. Alternately, if wineries were submitting in only one category, they could submit two wines. Wines were then rated and were subsequently ranked in various sublists based on score, price, and overall excitement about the wine.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from August 1st to 14th 2015. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes about Washington wineries gearing up for harvest.

Asbury Park Press writes about Pursued by Bear.

Wine Spectator writes about wineries fighting back on Illinois lawsuits. They also write about Willamette Valley Vineyards filing a suit over herbicide drift.

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Harvest begins in Washington

Friday, August 7, 2015 0 comments

Harvest has begun in Washington with Treveri Cellars - a sparkling wine producer - bringing in 18 tons of Chardonnay from the Zillah area this morning. Christian Grieb, winemaker and senior vice president of sales at Treveri, reported that the grapes were at 18.6 Brix. "Some of the berries were already showing some amber color to them!" he exclaimed. "Quite shocking considering this is August 7th."

This is the earliest Grieb's father ever recalled picking fruit in 30 years of winemaking in Washington. "Consider that Mumm just started picking on July 31st," Grieb said. "It's almost California-like this year." The same vineyard Treveri received fruit from today was picked on September 5th last year, almost a full month later. Other sites the winery works with are two to three weeks ahead of 2014, which was also a warm year (see 2015 Growing Degree Days here). Let the harvest season begin!

Picture courtesy of Treveri Cellars.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from July 22nd 2031st 2015. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

The Guardian writes about the top 10 bike friendly wine routes, with a callout to the Willamette Valley.

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Pic of the Vine - July 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015 0 comments

What winemaker Charles Smith does, he does big and that is much in evidence in the newly opened Charles Smith Wines Jet City in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. At 32,000 square feet, the new facility is claimed to be the largest urban winery in North America. We sent resident photographer Richard Duval to take a look.

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The July Virtual Tasting is tonight! The wine is the 2014 Hogue Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley. This wine retails for $10 and is widely available. The tasting takes place on Thursday July 30th from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

1. Buy this month’s wine from the winery or a local retailer (see below)

2. Tweet your comments about the wine on Twitter between 7 and 8pm Pacific on the specified date using the hashtag #hogue. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

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The July Virtual Tasting wine is the 2014 Hogue Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley. This wine retails for $10 and is widely available. The tasting will take place on Thursday July 30th from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

1. Buy this month’s wine from the winery or a local retailer (see below)

2. Tweet your comments about the wine on Twitter between 7 and 8pm Pacific on the specified date using the hashtag #hogue. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

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A mega round-up of articles on Northwest wine from June 22nd to July 21st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes that wild weather has Northwest growers on their toes.

Wine Spectator writes about Washington Malbec. They also write about the tyranny of light.

Shanken Daily News writes about Washington wine’s key players. Read part two here.

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The July/August issue of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine has a cover story I authored on the 10 year anniversary of the Granholm v. Heald decision. This Supreme Court case helped lead to changes in direct-to-consumer shipping laws around the country. Read a .pdf version of the article here.

See a list of other publications, most with web and .pdf links, here. Enjoy!

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Veraison - the changing of color of the grapes - is underway in eastern Washington. This pictures is of Syrah at Clifton Hill Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope and comes courtesy of Cait Guyette.

Thus far 2015 has been a very warm growing season, considerably warmer than 2014 (see current Growing Degree Days from Washington State University). Throughout the growing season, most markers have been advanced from their historical average dates, in some cases considerably so. The onset of veraison can only mean one thing: harvest is not far off.

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Pic of the Vine - June 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 comments

Throughout Washington you can find pockets of growth – recent plantings that speak to the ever-expanding demand for Washington wine grapes. Resident photographer Richard Duval, crisscrossing the state’s wine regions this month, captured this image from Red Mountain, home to Quintessence Vineyard.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from June 8th to 14th 2015. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator looks back on Hedges. They also ask whether wine lists should feature local wines.

CBS San Francisco writes that the west coast drought is a boon for Washington wine.

Forbes gives the best and cheapest threesome in Washington wine.

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for March 2015. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery. Read additional information on how I review wines here. All of these reviews are freely available on-line at the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. There is also a freely available Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide app.

These reviews include the first releases from a series of new projects. This includes the first releases from Brennon Leighton (Charles Smith Wines) under his B. Leighton Wines label (B. Leighton 2012 Olsen Brothers Vineyard Grenache Yakima Valley $45, 93 points; B. Leighton 2012 Olsen Brothers Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $45, 93 points).

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Today, a few pictures from my visit this week to the Walla Walla Valley for Celebrate Walla Walla. Click on the pictures to see larger images.

Enjoy!

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The July issue of Wine Enthusiast has an article on Northwest Chardonnay I co-authored with Paul Gregutt (I wrote the Washington section). Additionally, the summer issue of Washington Tasting Room has an article I wrote on Force Majeure. See a list of newsstand locations here.

See a list of other recent publications, most with hyperlinks or .pdf downloads, here. Enjoy!

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for March 2015. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery. Read additional information on how I review wines here. All of these reviews are freely available on-line at the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. There is also a freely available Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide app.

These reviews include some stand-out Syrahs from the 2012 vintage, including the Avennia 2012 Arnaut Syrah Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley ($50, 95 points) and the Rôtie Cellars 2012 Northern Blend Syrah Washington ($40, 94 points). There are also some great values to be had, including the Cadence 2012 Coda Red Mountain ($25, 92 points) and Dumas Station 2012 Cowcatcher Red Blend Walla Walla Valley ($2492 points). The reviews also include an impressive - and well priced - release from newcomer J&J Vintners in the form of the J & J 2012 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley ($30, 92 points).

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from June 1st to 7th 2015. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

The New York Times writes that the drought is bearing fruit for Washington wine.

Wines and Vines writes that Northwest growers are undaunted by the weather.

The Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel writes about a Wisconsin native calling an Oregon winery home.

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After a long hiatus (sorry), a round-up of stories on Northwest wine from May 22nd to 31st 2015. We’ll catch up on previous weeks missed in the future if time allows. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes about Willamette Valley Vineyards launching a series of single vineyard wineries. They also write about Rhone wines in Washington.

Wines and Vines writes that there is a strong market for land in Walla Walla Valley.

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Pic of the Vine - May 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015 0 comments

With spring comes new releases all around the Washington wine community, and resident photographer Richard Duval is prowling the state capturing as many as he can click. To date, he’s logged road time at the Yakima Valley and Walla Walla Spring Barrel release events as well as winery release events around the Puget Sound.

This striking backlit pour of Kerloo Cellar’s 2013 Blue Mountain Grenache Blanc at the SoDo winery’s release party caught his eye. “Spring releases bring out the energy,” Duval noted. “With new wines comes wine lovers eager to take in the sun and taste the winemaker’s latest magic."

Duval’s work as a wine photographer was the subject of this recent article which can be found here. Click on the picture above to see a larger image.

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The May/June issue of Vineyard & Winery Management has a series of articles I wrote. The first is on the search for a perfect closure; the second is on Oregon's Salud! program; the third is on the worsening vineyard labor shortage; and the fourth is on proposed changes to appellation label laws (Note: all links open .pdf files).

Additionally, the May/June issue of Edible Seattle has an article I wrote on Fielding Hills. See a list of newsstand locations.

Enjoy!

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April Pic of the Vine

Thursday, April 30, 2015 0 comments

Last weekend’s Spring Barrel activities in Yakima Valley proved perfect for all – great weather, lots of local culinary excellence on hand, and enthusiastic wineries bubbling with gracious joy for the throngs of wine lovers who sipped the weekend away. Doggedly crisscrossing the valley’s wineries from Yakima to Prosser, resident photographer Richard Duval spent three days capturing the unofficial start of the Valley’s wine season.

“The wineries are as beautifully varied as any region in the state,” Duval noted of his first of many visits this season. “From elegant rooms to shiny new barrel rooms to big wineries surrounded by expansive vineyards like this image of acclaimed Dineen Vineyard, Yakima Valley’s stunning beauty and slew of wine choices makes for a great wine getaway all season long.”

Click on the picture to see a larger image.

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The April Virtual Tasting wine is the 2014 Renegade Wine Co. Rosé Columbia Valley. This wine retails for $11 and is widely available. The tasting will take place on Thursday April 30th from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

1. Buy this month’s wine from the winery or a local retailer (see below)

2. Tweet your comments about the wine on Twitter between 7 and 8pm Pacific on the specified date using the hashtag #renegadewine. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from April 8th to 14th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes about Larry Stone’s new winery and vineyard.

The Miami Herald recommends the Ponzi Pinot Gris.

The Boston Globe writes about a Washington red that pairs with fish.

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Taste Washington in pictures

Thursday, April 16, 2015 0 comments

Resident photographer Richard Duval logged a full weekend at Taste Washington last month, capturing a slew of sips and swirls.

“From the morning seminars to the afternoon’s delights, Washington wine lovers reveled in one of the great wine events in the country," he said.

Here is Duval's photo collage of the event. Click on the picture to see a larger image.


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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from April 1st to 7th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

The Drinks Business writes about Chateau Ste Michelle sharpening its export focus.

Wines & Vines writes that Red Mountain goes on-line.


From around the country…

The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes that Oregon’s getting excited about Chardonnay.

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Tasting Note Database Read an explanation of the fields here. FINAL UPDATE 6/13/2015.

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