March and August are Washington wine Month(s)!
Here to celebrate this exceptional wine state we offer some awesome facts about Washington wines:
- While it may seem to be counterintuitive, the wetter, more foliaged western side of the state grows and produces the least wine, it is actually the drier eastern half that (through irrigation) produces some of the finest wines, some of which can rival Napa Valley in California (see: Walla Walla & Red Mountain AVA).
- The difference in rain fall on the two sides is astronomical, the western side averages 36.5 inches while the eastern side averages about 8 inches.
- The Columbia Valley AVA that the state is famous for actually stretches across the border of Washington into Oregon.
- Parker has given 3 100-point scores to Washington wines, all of which come from the Walla Walla AVA and all within the last 20 years (and not all of them were Cabs).
- Washington is the second largest premier wine producing region in the US, behind California.
- There are almost 1,000 wineries in the state. For reference, just Napa and Sonoma have combined 825 wineries. Starts to make California wine feel a little crowded whereas Washington wineries have all the space they need to succeed.
- The above mentioned wineries are spread across 14 AVAs.
- The economic impact of Washington wines hovers just under 5 billion dollars.
- In the peak of Summer, Washington state sees almost 2 hours more of daylight than Napa Valley (averaging about 1 hour more year round), making for better ripening without sacrificing diurnal swings with the evening temps that are necessary for grapes to lock in good acidity.
- Dollar for dollar, your money will go much further for very similar quality wines from Washington over California.
- Due to experimental plantings and winemaker desires, Washington can boast over 70 different grape variety plantings for wine production, whereas California is hovering around 60. Let’s point out that that means there are 70+ varieties for wine production in 14 AVAs as opposed to California’s ~60 in 107 AVAs. That’s incredible!
With all that in mind, go grab a bottle of Washington wine and enjoy!
It’s damn good stuff!