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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Wine Blog Awards

'14 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

The October issue of Seattle Metropolitan magazine is coming out this week and contains this year’s Top 100 Washington wines list. This is the fifth year that I’ve had the pleasure to write this article for the magazine.

This year’s list was drawn from over 700 submissions, meaning that making the list was the most competitive it's ever been. Wines were tasted in varietal sets and scored using a 100-point system (read the complete methodology in the issue). These ratings were subsequently used to create the list (similar to last year, we did not publish these scores to avoid any conflicts with my work for Wine Enthusiast). The wines were then organized into various sublists. These lists are as follows:

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

From around the world…

The Globe and Mail writes about American wineries you should visit.


From around the country…

At Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman writes about Milbrandt. He also writes an extended article about Charles Smith (both may require a subscription).

The Napa Valley Register writes about Walla Walla.

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I am pleased to announce that, as of October 1st, my tasting responsibilities for Wine Enthusiast will expand to include reviewing wines for all of Washington as well as the Oregon sides of the Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Valley.

This will obviously significantly impact what is posted in this space. My plan is as follows:

Existing submissions: All Washington wines already submitted to Washington Wine Report including wines sent in up to the end of September will be reviewed in this space. My goal is to post these reviews as quickly as possible to clear out the existing backlog as I transition to reviewing all Washington wines for Wine Enthusiast.

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Washington Wine Report is dedicated to the wines and wineries of the Pacific Northwest. Samples received from other regions may or may not be reviewed at the discretion of the editor.

All wines are reviewed by Sean P. Sullivan. Read about how wines are rated and reviewed here. For information on how to submit wines, please contact Sean at wawinereport@gmail.com.

Editor's Note: As of October 2014, I am reviewing all Washington wines, as well as wines from the Oregon sides of the Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Valley, at Wine Enthusiast magazine. This means that I will no longer be formally reviewing Washington wines in this space. Rather, I will be posting either impressionistic notes on wines without a formal review attached or posting previously published scores from Wine Enthusiast. I will continue to review Oregon wines and wines from other areas here. See a breakdown of the areas that I will be covering for Washington Wine Report and for Wine Enthusiast in the table below.

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“2012 is a watershed vintage for us,” said Steve Griessel, co-owner of Betz Family Winery, about the winery’s latest releases. “We wanted to take quality to the next level.”

To do so, the Betz team took a new approach in evaluating its wines. In previous years, each barrel received an evaluative score that was used to assess quality. Starting with the 2012 vintage, Griessel, winemaker Bob Betz, and assistant winemaker Tyson Schiffner also subsequently rank ordered each barrel. Both numbers were subsequently used as quality cutoffs.

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

From around the world…

National Post writes about the International Pinot Noir Celebration.


From around the country…

The Washington Post writes about crowdsourced wines.

Forbes gives five destinations for wine lovers.

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Buckle your seat belts! An extended round-up of stories on Northwest wine from August 8th to 31st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

Courier Islander (British Columbia) writes about Washington wine.

The Toronto Star says to head to Washington and Oregon for top notch sips.

Hamilton Spectator (Ontario) writes about the Elk Cove Pinot Gris.

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August Pic of the Vine

Sunday, August 31, 2014 0 comments

From the French term that means "the onset of ripening," véraison is the critical point in the growing season when wine grapes change color. While véraison is a signal to vineyard managers and winemakers that harvest is nigh, for resident photographer Richard Duval, it means one thing: color.

“Véraison is the checkered flag of the vineyard cycle,” Duval said. “It means the vines are digging in with all energy now churning toward ripening. The grape clusters explode with hues from silky greens to deep purple and that opens the palette for endless photo compositions.”

Duval captured this example at RockWall Cellars in Omak, Washington. Click on the picture to see a larger image.

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

From around the country...

Wine Enthusiast writes that NFL stars talk Washington State wine (article by yours truly).

St Louis Today writes about five unusual places to stay, including a wine barrel in Walla Walla.


From around the blogosphere...

The Wine Economist writes about the Walla Walla Valley’s next step: the SeVein project.

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In the September issue of Wine EnthusiastI interview former NFL quarterbacks Damon Huard and Dan Marino about their Washington wine project - Passing Time. Read the interview on-line here.

See a list of other print publications, most with links, here.

Enjoy!

NB: The print version of this interview erroneously referred to the winery as being located in Walla Walla. This has been corrected in the on-line version.

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Fresh Sheet August 7th 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014 0 comments



Today’s Fresh Sheet – reviews of new and recent releases – includes wines from Andrew WillTulpen CellarsLong ShadowsBoomtown by Dusted ValleyAuclair WineryL’Ecole No 41Chateau Ste. MichelleColumbia CrestDomaine PouillonStottle WineryButy, and Cadaretta.

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It would not be an exaggeration to say that Andrew Januik has winemaking in his blood. Januik is the son of Washington winemaker Mike Januik (Januik Winery and Novelty Hill), who has been making wine in Washington for thirty years.

Andrew Januik first became involved in Januik and Novelty Hill in 2000 at age 13, helping out on weekends and during the summer. Come 2004, he worked his first harvest.

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

From around the country…

Wine Spectator talks with Kerry Shiels of Cote Bonneville and DuBrul Vineyard.

Capital Gazette writes about Cayuse Vineyards.

Wines & Vines writes that Northwest vintners take heat in stride.

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In a resurrection of the Five Wines Under $15 column, we make up for lost time with a jumbo-sized edition looking at wines from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (we'll do the same with other wineries next month).

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Fresh Sheet July 30th 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 0 comments

Today's Fresh Sheet – reviews of new and recent releases – includes wines from AvenniaWilliam Church WineryMatthewsTenor WinesTwo VintnersCovington CellarsRenegade Wine Co. & Modern Wine Project, Palencia Wine CompanySol Stone, and Native Sun.

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July Pic of the Vine

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 0 comments

In eastern Washington, flowers and vines are showing off their summer colors.

“You’ll often see beds of flowers at the end of vineyard rows," said resident photographer Richard Duval. "It’s not just for the aesthetic appeal - though that certainly is pronounced. Plants also act as insectaries which can improve biodiversity and aid in pest management. Visiting Tapteil Winery, I captured a hard working rose garden and lavender bed that rings this beautiful Red Mountain vineyard.”

See previous Pic of the Vine images here.

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

From around the country...

The San Jose Mercury News writes about Red Mountain reds.

The Lowell Sun writes that Bledsoe's on the mark with Doubleback.

The Lima News (Ohio) writes about the Walla Walla Valley.

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The July Virtual Tasting is tonight! The wine is the 2013 Milbrandt Vineyards Traditions Pinot Gris. This wine retails for $13 and is widely available. The tasting will take place from 7-8pm Pacific tonight, Wednesday July 23rd.

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 #Milbrandt. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.


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

From around the country…

Time writes that Washington state wine is the new Bordeaux.

Wine Spectator writes about the purchase of Wines of Substance by Charles Smith. They also write about Massachusetts passing a direct shipping law with a push from Drew Bledsoe (Doubleback).

Wine Enthusiast writes about falling in love with wine.

The Chicago Tribune writes about Washington wine.

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Veraison in eastern Washington

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 0 comments

Veraison - the changing of color of the grapes - is underway in eastern Washington. This picture from Lacey Lybeck (@LaceyLybeck) shows veraison in Malbec at Milbrandt Vineyards' Clifton Hills Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. Lybeck also noted veraison occurring in Merlot at both Clifton Bluffs and Clifton Hills.

Meanwhile in the Yakima Valley, Dustin Tobin, General Manager at Arthur Den Hoed Farms, noted that veraison was occurring in Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Malbec as of July 15th.

As always, veraison can only mean one thing - that harvest is right around the corner. While there is still a lot of growing season left, 2014 is currently shaping up to be another warm year, tracking closely to 2013 numbers in terms of Growing Degree Days (see WSU's Growing Degree Day chart). Most markers of the growing season have been tracking considerably ahead of historical averages throughout the year. As always though, the story in Washington gets written in September and October - at least in terms of red wines. Stay tuned.

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The July Virtual Tasting wine is the 2013 Milbrandt Vineyards Traditions Pinot Gris. This wine retails for $13 and is widely available. The tasting will take place on Wednesday July 23rd (Please note, this is a week earlier than our typical tastings).

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 #Milbrandt. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

To make it more convenient for people to purchase the wines used in our Virtual Tastings, we are teaming up with a locally run, on-line wine shop, ImpulseWine.com. Instead of having to search for

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Tasting Note Database Updated

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 0 comments

The Tasting Note Database has been updated to the current date. See the database here. Read an explanation of the fields here.

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I am honored and humbled to announce that Washington Wine Report won 'Best Single Subject Blog' at the Wine Blog Awards this past weekend - the second consecutive year it has received this accolade. It was a great group of finalists this year that included Señorita VinoThe Wine BarNew York Cork Report, and On the wine trail in Italy. I encourage you all to check out these sites.

This has not been the easiest of years as I try to maintain this site and earn a living writing about wine. I have not been nearly as successful at either as I might like! But I will keep trying, and I sincerely appreciate everyone's support.

To the judges and the individuals who voted for this site this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To all, I will continue to try to shine a light on what is going on here in the Northwest in the months and years to come. Thank you all so much for following along.

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

From around the world…

Hindustan Times writes that Oregon is only hours from Napa Valley but a world away.


From around the country...

The Philadephia Inquirer writes that for picnics, Merlot is the way to go.

Communities Digital News writes that Yakima has a cornucopia of good wine.

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The July/August issue of Edible Seattle has an article I wrote on Washington rosé titled, "Summer in a Glass." See a list of newsstand locations here or subscribe here. Additionally the July/August issue of Vineyard & Winery Management has an article I wrote titled, "Oregon Winegrowers Combat Herbicide Drift." Find information about subscriptions here.

See a list of previous publications (most with links/downloads).

Enjoy!

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Tasting Note Database Read an explanation of the fields here. Last updated 7/15/2014.

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