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

A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from March 15th to 21st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

The Sacramento Bee writes about Washington Riesling.

The Independent Record writes about wines for spring with a couple of Washington mentions.

The Sioux Falls Leader writes about white wines for warmer weather with a callout to the A to Z Pinot Gris.

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Come join me at Taste Washington

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 0 comments

Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single region wine and food event, is coming up March 26th through 29th. I’ll be moderating two seminars at the event this year. The first is on Saturday, March 28th and is titled ‘The Chardonnay Revival’ where we’ll be focusing on the resurgence of this variety in Washington of late (see a seminar description as well as the list of panelists and wines). Meanwhile on Sunday, March 29th, I’ll be moderating a seminar titled ‘Appellation Spotlight: Red Mountain’ where we’ll discuss this viticultural area’s rise to preeminence (see a seminar description as well as the list of panelists and wines). Ticket information is here. Come say hello! Also, keep an eye out for suggested wineries to visit during the Grand Tasting at Seattle Metropolitan next week. Happy Washington Wine Month!

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Growers in Washington are seeing bud break occur in certain varieties. The onset of the growing season looks to be historically early for some, even compared to the warm 2014 vintage.

“Bud break last year started April 5th, so we are certainly two weeks ahead of that,” said Ryan Driver, vineyard manager at Tertulia Cellars in the Walla Walla Valley. Driver has already seen bud break in Grenache at some of his vineyards.

Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellar and FIGGINS has seen bud break in his Sangiovese at Seven Hills Vineyard. “I remember bud break in March before but certainly not March 15th!” Figgins said.

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

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes about the Northwest’s early growing season.

The Poughkeepsie Journal writes about the Fox Farm Pinot Gris.

The Washington Times writes about Nevada lawmakers vetting a bill to ease restrictions on wineries.

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I want to touch briefly on how to keep up with what I am writing about Northwest wine in addition to what is appearing in this space.

I frequently post information about wines I'm sampling for Wine Enthusiast as well as personal bottles on my Washington Wine Report Facebook page. I encourage you to follow this page if you are not already. Additionally, I also tweet about various goings on at twitter.com/wawinereport. My reviews of Washington (and Idaho) wines as well as feature and other articles appear regularly in Wine Enthusiast magazine. While I encourage you to subscribe to the magazine, these are also all freely available on-line (Note: Wine Enthusiast is currently updating its content management system so things should be easier to find in the near future if all goes well).

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Below is the first installment of my Wine Enthusiast reviews to be published to this space. They are reviews for the December 31, 2014 issue of the magazine and encompass the appellations that I was assigned to review prior to my assuming review responsibilities for all of Washington October 1st of last year.

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.

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

From around the country…

D Magazine says to drink Oregon Chardonnay.

Shanken Daily News writes about 14 Hands partnering with the Kentucky Derby to make a limited edition red blend.

The Wall Street Journal writes about the red blend trend.

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The March issue of Wine Enthusiast has a feature article I authored on Red Mountain with images from resident photographer Richard Duval (apologies in advance for the six click throughs).

The March-April issue of Vineyard & Winery Management has an article about Antonio Galloni's Vinous (Note: opens .pdf).

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from February 22nd to 28th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

Business Vancouver writes that the Aquilinis press on in their Washington state wine venture.


From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes about grape growers discussing vintage variation.

Wine Business.com writes about the Oregon Wine Symposium.

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February Pic of the Vine

Saturday, February 28, 2015 0 comments

The just-released March issue of Wine Enthusiast carries a feature article I authored on Red Mountain, one of the nation’s premier wine regions. The article is illustrated with photographs from our resident photographer, Richard Duval.

“This article was a bit different from some others I’ve worked on with Sean in that we knew we’d be collaborating up front,” Duval said. “It made for a fun photo pairing, like this one from Klipsun Vineyard that the magazine used for the opening spread.” Read the article and see other images here.

See other Pic of the Vine images.

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On wine ratings

Friday, February 27, 2015 0 comments

As all of my reviews and scores for Washington wines will now be published in Wine Enthusiast rather than in this space, I want to take a moment to talk about how these scores relate to the rating system that I have used here, how wines are rated and reviewed at Wine Enthusiast, and more generally how I think about wine ratings.

Several years back I published the following comparison of the five star rating system that I have used here as it relates to my original scoring system and also the 100-point scale. I am republishing it here for reference.

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The February Virtual Tasting is tonight! The wine is the Saviah Cellars 2012 The Jack Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley. This wine retails for $18 and is widely available. The tasting will take place tonight, Thursday February 26th, 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

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wines from February 15th to 21. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Enthusiast writes about Red Mountain rising (article by yours truly). Please bear with the six (!) advancement arrows.

Forbes writes that Gallo does Washington.

The Yamhill News Register writes about record temperatures in Washington and Oregon.

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The February Virtual Tasting wine is the Saviah Cellars 2012 The Jack Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley. This wine retails for $18 and is widely available. The tasting will take place on Thursday February 26th 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

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

From around the country…

Wine Enthusiast writes about Oregon’s value Pinot Noir.


From the blogosphere…

Great Northwest Wine writes that a rule change would help many Northwest wineries. They also write about the Barnard Griffin Rosé, a Millennial-themed wine eventWAWGG, and that Cayuse won’t use The Rocks District on its labels.

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On Monday the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposed a rule that, if enacted, would significantly alter the way that appellation names can be used on wine labels. Specifically, the proposed rule – issued in Notice No. 147 - would allow wineries to use single state appellations of origin on labels if they are in an adjacent state.

Currently, Federal law states that, in order to use an appellation of origin, a wine must be ‘fully finished’ in the state in which the appellation lies. That is to say, a Washington-based winery, for example, cannot use an Oregon located appellation on their label. The proposed rule would broaden this to allow adjacent states to use single state appellations.

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2014 was once again a year for the record books in Washington, with the state producing 227,000 tons of wine grapes. This was an increase of 8% over the previous year, though the number was less than the 240,000 tons initially forecast.

Production of white wine grapes shot up 16% with much of this increase accounted for by Riesling, which increased a whopping 26% from 2013. Riesling became Washington's most produced grape variety in 2014 at 50,500 tons, eclipsing Chardonnay (43,000 tons) and Cabernet Sauvignon (42,200).

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

From around the country…

Shanken Daily News writes about Oregon wine. Read part two here. They also write about Drinkspace.

Memphis City Magazine writes about Pinot Noir by the growler.

Bloomberg writes about a $300 Oregon Pinot Noir.

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Buckle your seat belts for a round-up of stories on Northwest wine from January 22nd to 31st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

At Wine Spectator Harvey Steiman writes about Helen Keplinger consulting at Force Majeure. He also writes about thorny brambles versus sunny fruit.

Atlanta Magazine writes about Oregon Pinot Noir.

MainLine Today writes about 10 great wines to BYOB with several Northwest mentions.

The New Hampshire Union Leader writes about the 2012 Adelsheim Pinot Noir.

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On Monday, February 9th approval for The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater appellation will be published in the Federal Register. The Rocks District will be the first sub-appellation of the Walla Walla Valley. The region, which is wholly located on the Oregon side of the valley, will be Oregon's 18th federally approved wine growing region.

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January Pic of the Vine

Friday, January 30, 2015 0 comments

In the offseason, resident photographer Richard Duval selects certain images and moves into fine art mode. Using various software tools (but not Photoshop), he experiments with tone, light, symmetry, and shadow to create a new image that is then printed on metallic-coated paper and fused to a sheet of aluminum for display. This month’s Pic of the Vine - titled “Blue Vine” - is a recent addition to that collection.

“My intent is to illustrate the wine world we see every day in a different fashion,” Duval said. “I’m always drawn to the natural beauty of the vineyard, but I’m also intrigued by what I might uncover by deliberately and carefully altering the photo’s elements. Blue Vine conjures the stark cold of the winter season but also underscores the precision of the rows, carefully tended throughout the year.”

Click on the picture for a larger image. Enjoy!

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from January 15th to 21st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes that Oregon winery wages outpace employment.

Wine Business writes about Helen Keplinger joining Force Majeure as a consultant.

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

From around the world…

The Courier Islander (Campbell River, BC) writes about the Kung Fu Girl Riesling.


From around the country…

The Capital Gazette (Maryland) writes about the Horse Heaven Hills.

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The January-February issue of Vineyard & Winery Management contains five articles I authored, including the cover story on the top 40 viticulture and enology advances of the last 40 years. The issue also includes an article looking at the effects of the liquor privatization in Washington; issues regarding the current supply of American oak; and harvest reports for Washington and Oregon (yes, this was why this site was so quiet last fall).

Additionally, the January-February issue of Edible Seattle contains an article on Ballard’s Captive Spirits titled, “Making Big Gin: Ballard's Captive Spirits - the little distillery that could". See a list of newsstand locations.

See other recent articles, most with web links or .pdf downloads.

Enjoy!

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Plans for 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015 4 comments

As we start off the New Year, I want to write about plans for 2015 and what you can expect to see in this space. Without further ado.

1. All Washington wine reviews and scores will be now published in Wine Enthusiast magazine

Now that I have posted reviews for all of the wines that were received at Washington Wine Report prior to October 1st when my responsibilities at Wine Enthusiast changed, all formal reviews and scores of Washington wines will now be published in Wine Enthusiast as opposed to in this space (see my list of Wine Enthusiast coverage areas). I encourage you to subscribe to the magazine. However, these reviews are also freely available at winemag.com, the magazine’s website.

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