Washington Wine Report is an independent publication focused on bringing Washington wine to you and bringing you to Washington 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

Sean P. Sullivan

2019 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

In tough times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.

In this month’s Five Wines Under $15 we focus on Riesling. Riesling not only represents Washington’s second most planted white grape at 6,320 acres (Chardonnay is first at 7,654), it also consistently provides wines with tremendously high quality-to-price ratios. As a result, there is an abundance of good to excellent Riesling being produced in Washington at $15 and under - more if you go up a dollar or two. Here we focus on three wineries that are leading the Riesling charge in Washington.

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Tasting through the current set of releases from winemaker Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery, it is hard to think of a Washington winery that has a more impressive lineup.

Chris Gorman began his career in the wine business right out of college in 1991. He started out on the import and distribution side where he would remain until he decided to focus on his winery full time. “I spent sixteen years selling world-class wines,” Gorman explains. Of course, Gorman could add the subsequent years as well – his wines are easily that caliber.

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REMINDER: Tonight! The August Virtual Tasting from 7pm-8pm Pacific. Read about how to participate here.

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

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes about Hestia Cellars and Zero One.

MSNBC writes about Washington wine’s campaign in India.

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Reminder that this month's Virtual Tasting takes place Thursday at 7pm Pacific. Read about how to participate here.

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

A few words about how the list was compiled. As stated in the article, wineries were allowed to send in a maximum of four wines, one in each of the following categories: one $25 or less; one $25–$50; one $50 or higher; and one white wine of any price. Note that this means that if a winery only offers three red wines at $35, they could only enter one wine. Wines were then rated using a 100-point scale. See the issue for additional information about how this was done. A cutoff of 91 points was used to create the list. Note that due to the extraordinarily high number of submissions - more than 400 - there were a number of excellent wines that did not make this year's list.

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from August 8th to 14th. See previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

The Iowa Press-Citizen says don’t discount Washington wines.

D Magazine writes about Northstar Merlot.

SC Now asks ‘Who makes the wine you drink?’

The Portland Press Herald writes about Riesling.

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Vanguard - Mark Ryan Winery

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 8 comments

If you want to see which way the Woodinville wine industry is going, watching what Mark Ryan Winery is up to would be a good place to start.

Winemaker Mark Ryan McNeilly has been in the vanguard. McNeilly got his start in the wine industry working at Unique Wine Company, a local distributor. It was in the midst of a tasting group that he had his first Washington wine epiphany. The wine was a Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon. “This is made in our state?” McNeilly recalls thinking with astonishment.

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Well folks, August 2011 marks the 3rd anniversary of the blog's Virtual Tastings. To recap, each month I pick a single wine and we taste and talk about it on a specific date using a designated hashtag on Twitter. Join us!

To celebrate the third anniversary of the Virtual Tastings as well as the Summer of Riesling, August's wine will be the 2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling. This wine retails for $9 and is widely available. The tasting will take place Thursday August 25th 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. Post your comments/tweets on the wine between 7 and 8pm using the hashtag #stemichelle. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

Hope you will join us!

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

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes about the effects of the closure of the state’s tourism bureau.

From the blogosphere…

The Wine Economist writes about how a Nuclear accident in the Ukraine launched Washington wine in Europe.

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I’m going to go out on a limb here. Mountain climbers seem to make good winemakers. Now keep in mind that mountain climbing is one of my primary passions so I may be a bit biased here, but there are a few compelling data points. Chuck Reininger of Reininger Winery and Rob Newsom of Boudreaux Cellars were both formerly professional guides and have shown winemaking talent. Add Eric Murphy’s name to that list.

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Fresh Sheet August 10th 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 3 comments

Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent Washington wine releases – includes wines from Heaven’s Cave, Sweet Valley Wines, Lodmell Cellars, and Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery.

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

From around the country…

South Carolina writes about Washington wine with callouts to Charles Smith, Cougar Crest, and anything from Seven Hills Vineyard.

Writing for Wine Enthusiast, Paul Gregutt writes about Washington redefining cult wines.

The Chicago Tribune gives a shoutout to Barnard Griffin’s Cabernet.

Reuters writes about Walla Walla being named the friendlist town.

D Magazine writes about Northstar Winery.

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As long time readers know, I will (very) occasionally recommend an upcoming Washington wine event of particular significance. One such event this month is the Auction of Washington Wines, which takes place August 18th through 20th.

The Auction was first created in 1988 as a partnership between the Washington Wine Commission and the Enological Society of the Pacific Northwest (now called the Seattle Wine Society). It has evolved over the years into its own 501(c)(3) organization. The goal remains both to promote the local wine industry and to give back to the community.

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Tasting Note Database updated

Thursday, August 4, 2011 0 comments

The Tasting Note Database has been updated through July 31st. See the database (a Google doc) here. Read an explanation of the fields here. Enjoy!

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As exciting as any winemaker to enter onto the stage in Washington in the last few years is Jon Martinez at Maison Bleue. Martinez left behind a promising career in dental surgery to pursue his passion for winemaking (read a previous post on the winery here). We should all be thankful.

Across the Maison Bleue lineup, the focus is on vineyard-designated wines. Martinez explains by saying, “I’m all about terroir, and I express it through vineyard designates.”

Earlier this year I reviewed Maison Bleue’s outstanding 2009 red wine releases from Upland Vineyard. Here we take a look at the winery’s 2009 reds from acclaimed Boushey Vineyard, as well as two new white wine releases from the 2010 vintage (read a review on Maison Bleue’s excellent 2010 French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay here).

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WWR TN Database

See my Washington Wine Report Tasting Note Database. Read an explanation of the fields here. FINAL UPDATE 6/13/2015. See current Wine Enthusiast reviews here.

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