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

This month’s Five Wines Under $15 is devoted to the wines of Columbia Crest’s Grand Estates series.

It is not hyperbole to say that there is no winery in Washington – perhaps even in the entire country - that puts out higher quality wines at lower prices than Columbia Crest. Even more remarkable is the winery’s incredible consistency year after year.

Columbia Crest’s Grand Estates wines sit in the middle of the winery’s lineup between the Two Vines and H3 series wines with the reserve wines at the top. Impressively for wines at this price, there is good separation between the varieties. The Merlot tastes like Merlot; the Cabernet tastes like Cabernet.

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Folks waiting for The Wine Advocate reviews for Washington will have to wait a while longer. Originally slated for the October 31st issue, the reviews will now be part of the December set of reviews. The delay was announced via e-mail to wineries as well as via Mark Squires' Bulletin Board. Writing about the change on the bulletin board Robert Parker stated, "I decided to push Washington state back to December, largely because the upcoming issue is exceptionally large even by our fanatical standards, and such articles don't lend themselves to being divided in two parts."

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For folks you missed it, you can listen to my appearance on Table Talk Radio KKNW 1150AM yesterday with Jamie Peha and Thierry Rautureau here. We talk about the 2012 harvest and Thanksgiving wines. I come on about 37 minutes in (takes some time to load). Enjoy!

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The October Virtual Tasting wine is tonight! The wine is the Renegade Wine Co.  2011 Columbia Valley Red Wine. This wine retails for $10 and is 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 tonight using the hashtag #RWineCo. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

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Pic of the Vine - October 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 0 comments

This is the first in a monthly series of images from photographer Richard Duval called 'Pic of the Vine.' This month’s image comes from the estate vineyard of a'Maurice Cellars in the Walla Walla Valley. The vineyard is fronted by a full bloom of lavender.

Duval notes that he first saw the scene at the end of the day drive-by on one of his frequent shooting trips to Walla Walla. The next morning he was in place for dawn’s light to illuminate the sky and the lavender field in front of the carefully tended vines. The result was this landscape that he jokingly titled “On the Corner of Lavender and Vine.” Download a screen saver sized version of this image at Read reviews of the a'Maurice Cellars wines here.

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

I am pleased to announce that photographer and writer Richard Duval will be a regular contributor to this site.

Richard Duval’s world revolves around the three critical Ps – photography, pizza, and piano. Culled from his frequent travels, his wine, scenic and landscape images are found on note cards, galleries, and calendars, and as stock photography. His work is often featured in Washington Tasting Room magazine, the Washington Wine GuideNature Photographer, and Northwest Travel Magazine among others and his assignments include Holland America Line, Microsoft and Vermont Life.

Woven into this texture is his endless pursuit of perfecting the art of Neapolitan pizza making by evoking the traditions and practices of old world Naples. In between photo sessions and pizza tossing, Duval's main love is the piano. His CD “Notes to Myself” features his intimate and original musical stories. He lives near Mill Creek with his wife Leslee and Brunello, the wine dog.

See his wine work at and on Facebook at Duval Images.

Look for the first image in a monthly series from Duval called ‘Pic of the Vine’ later today.

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

A round-up of stories on Washington wine from October 15th to 21st 2012. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

The Wall Street Journal asks if happy days are here again for Merlot.

From the blogosphere…

Paul Gregutt writes about the new Ancient Lakes AVA. He also gives a top 10 best buy from the Northwest.

Huffington Post writes about the TripAdvisor 2012 Travelers’ Choice Wine Destinations awards with Walla Walla at number 8.

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Please note that from September 26th through October 15th, the system that generates RSS feeds and distributes e-mails for readers of this site was not working properly. For this reason, during this time, people who read via RSS feeds did not see the posts updated and people who subscribe via e-mail did not receive e-mails. The problem has now been corrected - and thank you to the reader who brought the issue to my attention.

Below is a list of posts during that time from most recent to least.





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

From around the country…

Fox News writes about the top 10 wine country inns with a shout out to Abeja.

The Washington Post asks whether Amazon is any closer to solving the wine shipping riddle.

Florida Today writes about K Vintners.

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Washington will receive its thirteenth federally approved growing region - the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley - this week. The appellation is expected to be entered in the Federal Register on Thursday.

Cameron Fries of White Heron Winery petitioned for the appellation along with Joan Davenport, Professor-Soil Sciences at Washington State University. Fries says that he’s been working to gain appellation status for the region for almost seven years.

Fries believes that the Ancient Lakes region deserves to be recognized both for its grape growing and its majestic scenery. “It’s an extraordinarily beautiful area,” he says. “I call it a mini Grand Canyon.” Anyone who has seen a concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre, which lies within the growing region, will surely agree.

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Harvest Report October 15th 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012 0 comments

The past week in eastern Washington was notable for seeing limited amounts of rain – the first in several months. For most, this was a relief, cutting down on dust and clearing the air. Few growers or winemakers expected the rain to have any effect on harvest. Other than that, things are beginning to wind down for many.

Winemaker Ross Mickel of Ross Andrew Winery and Force Majeure says, “Not much is happening in terms of ripening or degradation of the fruit. Things are in a holding pattern. There is possibly some dehydration, so we'll probably see an increase in Brix levels, but in terms of flavors in the vineyards we are working with, what we're going to get is already there.”

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from October 1st to 7th 2012. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes about wines biggest winners and losers, with California and Washington wines driving growth for Bordeaux-style blends.

From the blogosphere…

Northwest Wine Anthem writes about Sonoris Wines. They also write about Woodinville’s harvest.

Paul Gregutt asks whether critics should criticize pricing or just wine. He also writes about Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Best Buys of 2012.

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The October Virtual Tasting wine is the Renegade Wine Co.  2011 Columbia Valley Red Wine. This wine retails for $10 and is widely available. The tasting will take place on Wednesday October 24th 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 Wednesday October 24th using the hashtag #RWineCo. For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

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This has been the week of the wind machine in Washington with a series of cold nights from last Tuesday through Sunday. Temperatures in some of the cooler areas of the Walla Walla and Yakima valleys dipped into the low 30s and even high 20s in some locations. While some did report frost issues, many were able to keep the frost at bay by using wind machines. 

“We started running wind machines on Tuesday night and have been every night since,” one wine grower in the Walla Walla Valley said yesterday. “The forecast for tonight is around 35 degrees so we should be out of it.” Meanwhile on Red Mountain temperatures dipped down to the high twenties on Friday but wind machines kept temperatures a few degrees higher allowing the growing season to continue.

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from September 22nd to 30th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes about Owen Roe opening a new production facility in Washington. They also write about twelve exciting new Washington reds and Amazon trying to get into the wine business again.

San Francisco Business Times writes about Amazon trying again to get into the on-line wine business

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Today, a few pictures from a recent trip to Two Blondes Vineyard - Andrew Will's site - in the Yakima Valley. Click on the pictures for larger images. Enjoy!

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Fresh Sheet October 2nd 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 1 comments

Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent releases – includes wines from Maison Bleue, Native Sun, Waterbrook, Hard Row to Hoe, and Avennia.

Maison Bleue
For anyone interested in the subject of Washington wine – or wine in general for that matter - the 2010 red releases from Prosser’s Maison Bleue are nothing short of required reading.

Earlier this year the winery released its 2010 reds from Upland Vineyard. Now Maison Bleue releases its two Boushey Vineyard reds, the 2010 Le Midi Grenache and 2010 Liberte Syrah. These wines are as compelling as any being made in Washington right now.

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A change in weather patterns this past week cleared out much of the smoke that had been hanging over eastern Washington. Still, smoke does persist in some areas. Several winemakers noted that ripening slowed down this past week, with some wondering whether the haze from the smoke contributed in some way.

“Last week slowed significantly from the previous two weeks, whether due to decreased sunlight because of smoke, lower temps, shorter days, I’m not sure,” Ben Smith at Cadence Winery says. Smith notes that, with the exception of Merlot, berry sizes have been smaller than average this year. “I recorded 0.78 grams per berry for Tapteil Cabernet Sauvignon, a record,” he says. Smith has been sourcing fruit from this vineyard for more than a decade.

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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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