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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'17 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the founding of Washington Wine Report as an on-line site (it existed as an email list two years prior that). I sincerely appreciate everyone following along over the past decade, and I thank you for your support. It's been amazing to watch the industry grow these past 10 years. Here's to the next decade of Washington wine!

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for June 2017. 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. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast's on-line database here.

188 wines reviewed in the June issue of Wine Enthusiast. They include two high quality wines from Avennia (Avennia 2014 Gravura Red Blend Columbia Valley $3591 pointsAvennia 2014 Justine Red Blend Columbia Valley $4092 points).

The 2014 Bordeaux-style releases from Betz Family Winery do not disappoint, including the Betz Family 2014 Clos de Betz Red Blend Columbia Valley ($6092 points); Betz Family 2014 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley ($7593 points); and Betz Family 2014 Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain ($11093 points).

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Pic of the Vine - May 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017 0 comments

Signs of a glorious spring in Washington wine country abound. Buds have broken throughout the state; al fresco sipping sites increase daily; and resident photographer Richard Duval is on the road.

“While shadowing the recent Masters of Wine tour through the heart of the heart Washington wine community, I caught this spring activity at Canyon Vineyard Ranch owned by Precept Wine,” he said. “Tractors amongst the rows and hills of this great vineyard made for near perfect photos of the bustle of spring.”

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Bloom is beginning in eastern Washington's vineyards. Sagemoor Vineyards reports bloom in their Chardonnay, pictured at left, on May 27th. This same block had bloom on May 5th in 2016 (which had an extremely warm start); May 14th in 2015 (a warm year); May 20th in 2013 (also a warm year); and June 7th in 2012 (a year that tracked to 20 year averages for heat accumulation). See a graph of current Growing Degree Days, a measure of heat accumulation, from Washington State University here.

Click on the picture, which is provided courtesy of Sagemoor Vineyards, to see a larger image.

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The following is excerpted from an on-line article at Wine Enthusiast. Follow the link below to the complete article.

From the state’s first Syrah plantings to the creation of some of its finest wines, Red Willow has made a name for itself in Washington.

One of Washington State’s most influential sites, Red Willow Vineyard, sprung up from humble beginnings.

“I was a new kid on the farm, 22–23 years old,” says grower Mike Sauer. “Just came to the farm looking for my place.” Sauer would decide that his place was to grow wine grapes, a relatively novel idea back in the early 1970s.

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for May 2017. 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. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast's on-line database here.

60 wines reviewed in the May issue of Wine Enthusiast. They include a strong set of wines from Cairdeas, including the Cairdeas 2014 Caislén an Papa Red Wine Blend Meek Vineyard Washington ($4591 points); Cairdeas 2014 Trí Red Blend Yakima Valley ($3991 points); and Cairdeas 2014 Consonance Red Blend Yakima Valley ($42 91 points).

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Bud break in eastern Washington

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 0 comments

Bud break is occurring in eastern Washington. This picture is Phelps Clone Syrah on April 10th at the Ziggy Stardust block of Elevation Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley and comes courtesy of Trey Busch at Sleight of Hand Cellars. Busch reports that bud break took place at the same location last year on April 1st.

Bud break has also been reported in Grenache by Ryan Driver of Tertulia Cellars at the winery's Rivière Galets Vineyard in The Rocks District; by Hillary Sjolund in Chardonnay at Gordon Estate Winery in the Columbia Valley; and at Watermill Vineyard in The Rocks by Brian Roy.

Let the 2017 growing season begin!


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Pic of the Vine - March 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017 1 comments

Celebrating its 50th year, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the flagship of the Washington wine industry. When the spring season finally arrives, the French-styled chateau, surrounded by 105 wooded acres, draws hundreds of visitors a day, including resident photographer Richard Duval.

“Spring skies prompt colorful flora and happy wine aficionados to Woodinville, and particularly to Ste. Michelle,” he noted. “Aiming to record the color of the day, I traversed the grand walkway and captured the chateau on a brilliant spring morning.”

Click on the picture to see a larger image.

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The following is an excerpt of an article I co-wrote with Paul Gregutt in the April 2017 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Paul wrote the first section on Washington winemakers making Oregon wine. I wrote the second section on Oregon winemakers making Washington wine.

A number of Oregon and Washington wineries are heading across state lines to find the best grapes, proving borders don't matter when it comes to good wine.

No single place grows every grape variety equally well. Moreover, grapes know nothing about imaginary lines like state borders. In the Pacific Northwest, enterprising winemakers reach into neighboring states to tap great vineyard sources and craft compelling wines.

South to Oregon 

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The 2017 Washington State Wine Tour Guide is now available. You can read the tour guide online here. Order hard copies of the guide here.

Of note, in this year's guide I wrote the sections Washington Wine Primer, Meet the AVAs, and Walla Walla Valley.

 Enjoy!

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for March 2017. 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. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast's on-line database here.

86 wines reviewed in March for Wine Enthusiast (Note: Monthly totals will now be lower than they were previously as reviews are being published every month as opposed to every other).

The reviews include a strong set of wines from Dusted Valley (Dusted Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $42 91 pointsDusted Valley 2013 Wallywood Red Blend Columbia Valley $4292 pointsDusted Valley 2014 Tall Tales Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $6092 points).

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from March 1st to 7th 2017. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Enthusiast magazine writes about Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen of W.T. Vintners (article by yours truly).

Boston.com reports that Robert Kraft and Tom Brady celebrated with Drew Bledsoe’s wine.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about red blends from Washington.

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As expected, 2016 shattered the state’s record for grape production according to numbers released on Wednesday by the Washington Wine Commission. Washington produced 270,000 tons of wine grapes in 2016, easily surpassing the previous record of 227,000 tons set in 2014.

The most shocking growth was in Cabernet Sauvignon, which increased from 47,400 tons in 2015 to a whopping 71,100 tons in 2016. Overall, Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for 26% of the state’s production, an indication that the variety is increasingly seen as a calling card for the state.

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Pic of the Vine - February 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 0 comments

Winter's hand on Washington vineyards is still prevalent. Resident photographer Richard Duval captured this vista of snow and vines at the magnificent Wallula Vineyard, high above the Columbia River just south of Kennewick. Also known as The Benches, this expansive vineyard sources grapes to some of Washington's finest wineries, including Long Shadows and Den Hoed Wine Estates.

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Turning Rocks into Wine

Sunday, February 26, 2017 1 comments

The following is an excerpt from an article in the March 2017 edition of Wine Enthusiast. 

A pioneering French winemaker's discovery of a cobblestone corner of the Walla Walla Valley has yielded wines unlike anywhere else in the world.

Rocks region pioneer Christophe Baron didn’t set out to discover a new wine-growing territory when he first moved to the Walla Walla Valley from his native France in 1993. In fact, he didn’t really look to live in the Walla Walla Valley, which straddles the Oregon-Washington border, at all.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from February 1st to 14th 2017. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

The San Diego Entertainer writes about Washington wine.

Wine Spectator writes about Oregon values. They also write about Tenet Wines. Meanwhile Tim Fish writes about new adventures in Washington and Oregon and the magazine announces that Tim Fish will cover Washington and Oregon.

Buffalo News writes about a wine trip to Walla Walla.

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for February 2017. 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. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast's on-line database here.

189 wines reviewed in the February issue of Wine Enthusiast. They start off with a strong series of 2013 vintage wines from Andrew Will (Andrew Will 2013 Sorella Champoux Vineyard Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $8392 pointsAndrew Will 2013 Esploso Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $6092 pointsAndrew Will 2013 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Blend Red Mountain $6492 pointsAndrew Will 2013 Champoux Vineyard Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $7492 points).

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The January/February issue of Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine contains two articles I wrote, one a 2016 harvest report for Washington and the other a 2016 harvest report for Oregon. You can read both of these articles here.

Enjoy!

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from January 22nd to 31st 2017. Read previous round-ups here.

From the blogosphere…

Great Northwest Wine writes that wine will be bigger than wheat. They also write about the state of Riesling and a bill that would ease laws on alcohol at movies 

Washington Wine Blog writes about the Rocks District website.

Write for Wine wishes a happy 50th anniversary to Chateau Ste Michelle. Margot also writes about Taste Washington celebrating its 20th anniversary.

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Pic of the Vine - January 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 4 comments

 A tale of two seasons: harvest, a blur of frenzied near non-stop team activity in late summer sun. And winter, a meticulous and somewhat solitary time of vineyard care amidst the blanket of snow that covers Washington vineyards.

Resident photographer Richard Duval matched two scenes – harvest and winter prep – from Lake Chelan’s Hard Row to Hoe with the hard-working Don Phelps who maintains the vineyards for winemaker Judy Phelps.

Click on the picture to see a larger image.

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