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

Fresh Sheet November 30th 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 5 comments

November's Virtual Tasting takes place tonight 7-8pm Pacific. Read about how to participate here.

Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent Washington wine releases – includes wines from Hard Row to Hoe, Mannina, :Nota Bene, Ash Hollow, Long Shadows, and Owen Roe.

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In this month’s Five Wines Under $15, we take a look at Washington Pinot Gris with a cyber special 2:1 wine list. Read previous Five Under $15s here.

Scan the wine and grocery store shelves and you will find a good selection of Oregon Pinot Gris. You might be surprised then to hear that Washington makes more Pinot Gris than Oregon. In fact, Pinot Gris is Washington’s third most planted white grape at over 1,500 acres. The obvious question then is, where are all the wines?

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Tasting Note Database updated

Monday, November 28, 2011 0 comments

Reminder: This month's Virtual Tasting is coming up Wednesday from 7-8pm Pacific. Read about how to participate here.

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

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

From around the country…

Top winemakers take up the Tofurkey challenge, including Jean Francois Pellet of Amavi Cellars and Pepperbridge.

Houston Press recommends Pacific Rim Riesling for Thanksgiving.

Business Insider writes about Thanksgiving wines with a callout to Snoqualmie’s Naked Riesling.

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Washington wines were once again well represented on Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 list with seven wines listed, including two in the top fifteen. All of the Washington wines selected were in the first fifty.

The highest ranking Washington wine was the 2008 Baer Ursa, which came in at number 6. This is the first time that a wine from Woodinville’s Baer Winery has been listed in Wine Spectator’s Top 100, an affirmation of the winery’s path since the tragic passing of Lance Baer in 2007.

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Seattleites tune in to Q13 Tuesday at 5:30pm when I'll be talking about Thanksgiving wines.

Thanksgiving can cause a great deal of stress: the preparation, the cooking - the relatives. Don’t let picking wines become one of the problems.

More than any other meal, Thanksgiving can present wine pairing issues if you take it too seriously. So don’t. My only rule for Thanksgiving wines is…don’t break the bank because there’s a lot going on that day and the wine will be flowing freely.

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While the cool temperatures of 2010 caused a great deal of consternation among Washington growers and winemakers, the results so far for white wines have been impressive. In fact, 2010 looks to be one of the strongest vintages for Washington whites in recent memory.

The 2010 growing season featured the coolest temperatures the state had seen since 1999, predating the rapid rise in wineries in Washington State. This meant many winemakers, and even many growers, were working in an environment that they were unfamiliar with. Despite this, many excelled.

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Fresh Sheet November 17th 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011 6 comments

Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent Washington wine releases – includes wines from Efeste, Rasa Vineyards, Tenor Wines, Matthews Estate, and Long Shadows.

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

Buckle your seat belts. This week's round-up is a long one.

From around the country...

Wines & Vines writes about the passage of Initaitive 1183.

Wine Spectator writes about the passage of Initiative 1183.

The Broward-Palm Beach times writes about Queensryche and Geoff Tate’s Insania wine.

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Gaming Wine Spectator’s Top 100

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6 comments

Well folks, it’s that time of year again when the Top 100 lists get rolled out. Time to play our annual guessing game.

Washington has already been well represented on two of Wine Enthusiast’s three annual Top 100 lists, Cellar Selections and Best Buys, even commanding the top spot on the latter with the 2010 Pacific Rim Riesling.

Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list comes out on November 21st. As in past years, the magazine used the following criteria for its list:

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Vineyard manager Ken Hart of Tulpen Cellars started out farming at age 17. Since that time he has developed a long, diverse resume that now includes one of the more exciting, under the radar Washington wineries out there.

As General Manager of Appellation Management Group, Hart manages a who’s who list of sites for the likes of Dunham, Abeja, Walla Walla Vintners, àMaurice, Sinclair, and others. Hart also helped to plant some of Walla Walla Valley’s most prestigious vineyards including Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, and Neuffer (now Blue Mountain).

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from November 1st to 7th 2011. Read previous round-ups here.

From Around the Country…

The Washington Times writes about Initiative 1183.

D Magazine writes about Amavi Cellars Semillon.

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As expected, Initiative 1183 was approved by Washington voters by a wide margin on Tuesday. Here’s what comes next.

With its passage, Initiative 1183 closes state liquor stores, privatizes liquor distribution and sales, permits volume discounting for wine and spirits, and allows central warehousing. These changes will happen on the following timeline.

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November's Virtual Tasting wine will be the Bookwalter Winery Bookmark Red Wine NV. This wine retails for $15 and is widely available. The tasting will take place Wednesday November 30th 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 #bmark. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

Hope you will join us!

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All across Washington, harvest started wrapping up this week with many winemakers reporting that they were bringing in their last fruit. For some, harvest finished right when they expected. For others, the recent cold weather put a sudden end to the growing season.

More freezing temperatures came to the eastern Washington Wednesday morning, one week after some saw the first freeze of the year. The area around Red Mountain saw the worst of it, with temperatures in Benton City getting down to 18 degrees. Some, such as Ciel du Cheval, had already finished up harvest. Others still had fruit to bring in, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

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As mentioned previously, there had been some speculation about whether the state would announce which private company would receive a contract to distribute spirits in advance of Election Day in an attempt to influence Initiative 1183 voting. Well the state did make an announcement today, but it was a bit different than some expected.

According to the Associated Press, budget director Marty Brown recommended to Governor Christine Gregoire that neither of the two bids be accepted. Brown said there was not sufficient financial benefit to the state. No word yet, but presumably the state will attempt to solicit additional bids.

The privatization of spirits distribution was part of SB 5942 that passed in the state legislature earlier this year.

Read previous posts on Initiative 1183 here.

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A reader asked me to provide some additional detail as to why I thought Initiative 1183 would negatively impact small wineries, distributors, and retailers. For all, here’s a distillation of the argument presented in previous posts.

Small wineries will have a harder time selling their wine because:

1) Grocery stores sales of Washington wine will decline due to decreased shelf space caused by central warehousing and the addition of spirits. While many of the wineries represented on grocery store shelves are mid to large-sized, many small wineries are represented as well.

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from October 21nd to 31st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

Edmonton Journal writes about Charles Smith.

From around the country…

MSNBC writes about multiple winery tasting rooms.

Anapolis Capitol writes about new discoveries with a callout to the Dead Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Summary of Posts for October 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 0 comments
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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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