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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The February Virtual Tasting wine is tonight! The wine is the Dusted Valley Vintners 2010 Boomtown Chardonnay. This wine retails for $15 and is reasonably widely available. The tasting will take place from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

1. Buy this month’s wine from a local retailer or from the winery.

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

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Boom times for Dusted Valley

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 0 comments

In this month’s Five Wines Under $15, we take a look at Dusted Valley Vintners’ Boomtown wines.

“A throwback to the energetic Roaring 20s, Boomtown embodies the essence of celebration and our booming Washington wine industry.” So reads the side of the Boomtown labels.

And make no mistake, Washington is indeed a boomtown. The state is approaching 800 wineries – up nearly threefold over the last decade. Washington produced a record crop of 188,000 tons of wine grapes in 2012. Grape acreage is also expected to nearly double by the end of the decade.

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Fresh Sheet February 26th 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 0 comments







Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent releases – includes wines from Betz Family WineryLong Shadows:Nota Bene CellarsBuried Cane WinesColumbia Winery, and Auclair Winery.

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

From around the country…

No love this week.

From the blogosphere…

Jameson Fink writes about Whidbey Island Winery.

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When Wine Writers Are Wrong

Friday, February 22, 2013 3 comments

As wine reviewers, there is an understanding (hopefully) that we are reviewing each wine at a particular moment in time. It is a snapshot. There is an expectation, though, that we can project that snapshot forward or that the qualitative evaluation is relatively stable. And often that expectation is correct. But sometimes it is wrong. Dreadfully wrong. This is one wine’s story.

I tasted the 2010 Eight Bells Clonal Selection Syrah - a blend of eight different varietal clones from Red Willow - in early September of last year. I enjoyed the wine and gave it a three and a half star rating (Good/Excellent). I have noted previously that many of the 2010 vintage reds from Washington require some time to fully come out of their shells. And of course, due to the nature of the wine business, sometimes wines are released and/or tasted earlier than they would ideally be.

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As many of you know, Initiative 1183, which privatized spirits sales in Washington among a number of other changes, prohibited stores under 10,000 square feet from selling spirits. This was ostensibly done to keep spirits out of convenience stores and gas stations. But it also kept them out of small retail wine and beer stores.

There is currently a bill, Washington Senate Bill 5731, for "Allowing beer and/or wine specialty shop licensees to sell craft distillery products." Craft distilleries are defined by those producing less than 60,000 gallons per year. This bill is currently scheduled to come before the Senate Committee on Commerce & Labor this Friday.

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The February Virtual Tasting wine is the Dusted Valley Vintners 2010 Boomtown Chardonnay. This wine retails for $15 and is reasonably widely available. The tasting will take place on Thursday February 28th from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

1. Buy this month’s wine from a local retailer or from the winery.

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

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What follows is a Focus Report on The Rocks of Milton-Freewater. Download a .pdf copy here. Read previous Focus Reports here

For years, winemakers and wine lovers alike have discussed the distinctiveness of the wines coming from the section of the Walla Walla Valley commonly referred to as ‘The Rocks.’ If Walla Wallans Steve Robertson and Kevin Pogue have their say, the area will soon become its own appellation – one that is almost entirely based on soil type.

“I would be very surprised if there was a more terroir-driven AVA in the country,” says geologist Kevin Pogue, who recently submitted an appellation application to the TTB.

If approved, the area – which would be a sub-appellation of the Walla Walla Valley and wholly located on the Oregon side of the border - will be called ‘The Rocks of Milton-Freewater’ after the small town located in the area. Made famous by vigneron Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards who first planted in the area in the late 1990s, ‘The Rocks’ is currently a hotbed of activity with 250 acres under vine and more plantings going in each year.

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from February 8th to 14th 2013. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Shanken Daily News writes about controversy with privatization.

The LA Times writes about a bill in Washington that would allow under-21 students to sip wine.


From the blogosphere…

Northwest Wine Anthem writes about Seattle Urban Wineries. They also write about Lake Chelan’s Karma.

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The following article was written by Ryan Messer. Messer lives in the Yakima Valley and writes about travel and wine tourism in the valley and throughout the state. Read additional background here.

I am a Yakimanian. And beyond that, I'm a Washingtonian. I escaped for a few years, but realized first that my home state, and eventually my hometown were, in fact, home. Like me, many young adults are ready to turn their back on the city they were raised in. Eventually, that new beginning we all search out might be right back where we started. It was for me, anyway.

Over the years, I've learned more about my surroundings but found things I'm more passionate about than others. I appreciate knowing that we grow more apples in Washington than the other 49 states combined. It’s fascinating that the Yakima Valley is the number two hop growing community in the world. But the grapevine is where my heart grows fondest. And I now live at the front door to thousands of acres of vineyards that provide the key ingredient to the nectar of the gods.

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Watch my segment on wine and chocolate pairing on Seattle's Q13 News here.

We love to talk about pairing wine and chocolate, but most wine lovers and chocoholics would agree that the pairing is often very difficult to successfully pull off.

Much like wine, chocolate is simultaneously sweet and bitter, fruity and acidic. Trying to line up each of these qualities to a specific wine and have them complement, rather than clash, can be monumentally difficult. Additionally, the pairing can be quite subjective with one person’s divine pairing another’s dreadful flop. Given this, the best thing to do is experiment with a variety of different chocolates and a variety of different wines. And who can complain about that?

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Legends - Erath’s Gary Horner

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 0 comments

This is the first in a series of posts on some of the founding wineries and individuals in the Oregon wine industry.

Going on 30 years of winemaking – nearly ten at one of Oregon’s founding wineries - it seems hard to believe that Erath winemaker Gary Horner’s entry into the world of wine was far from preordained. Growing up, Horner’s family rarely had wine around the table. In fact, it wasn’t until he was in college that he found a friend - who was, of course, part French - who took it upon himself to introduce Horner to wine. “I knew nothing. I was a blank slate,” Horner recalls.

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I have written in the past (at length) about corked wines, specifically, those wines affected by TCA. TCA causes off aromas and flavors that are variously described as damp basement, wet newspaper, or wet dog among a number of other not so flattering descriptors. Two recent wines, however, crystallized for me the problem presented by corked taint.

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

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes about the Washington Wine Commission implementing its new strategy.

Good Fruit Grower writes about Washington’s record crop.

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Pic of the Vine - February 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013 0 comments

Pic of the Vine is a monthly image taken by contributor Richard Duval. See previous Pic of the Vine images here.

Now that the infamous Washington winter-without-color phase is here, many of us turn to hunting for flashes of color to help us while away the grey. Contributing photographer Richard Duval is luckier than most – he just dives into his photo library for his daily dose of wine color. We asked him for a particularly colorful grape image and thus arrived Shine on the Vine #6, February’s Pic of the Vine (click on the picture for a larger image).

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The 2013 Washington State Wine Tour Guide has been released!

As in previous years, the guide is divided into eight wine touring regions: Seattle & Puget Sound, Woodinville, Yakima Valley, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla Valley, Spokane & Pullman, Vancouver & Columbia Gorge, and Cascade Valley & North Central. Each touring region has an introductory article with information about the area as well as suggestions on when to go and things to do written by yours truly.

Look for hard copies of the guide at wineries and retailers throughout the state. Read an on-line copy here. Enjoy!

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Fresh Sheet February 5th 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 0 comments






Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent releases – includes wines from AvenniaKerloo CellarsKaella WineryCadarettaSweet Valley Wines, and Pamplin Family Winery.

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from January 22nd to 31st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Business Monthly names Milbrandt Vineyards one of its hot brands of 2012.

The San Francisco Examiner writes that big bargains can be found in Washington.

Good Fruit Grower writes about the vibrant Washington wine industry.

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Washington produced a record crop of 188,000 tons of wine grapes in 2012 according to numbers released today by the USDA. This represents a 32% increase from the previous year. The prior record was 160,000 tons in 2010.

Red grape production – specifically Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - accounted for much of the increase from 2011. However, the overall increase in production compared to the 2010 vintage for these grapes was relatively modest at 4,000 tons for Cabernet Sauvignon and 6,000 tons for Merlot.

Grape production in 2011 was significantly decreased by a freeze that occurred in late 2010 that adversely affected a number of growing areas in the state, most significantly parts of the Horse Heaven Hills. As a result, red grape production decreased dramatically in 2011.

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