There’s nothing quite like Washington wine. As the second-largest premium wine producer in the US, the state of Washington is home to over 70 wine grape varieties, 1,000 wineries, and more than 400 wine growers. Many Washington State wines have earned a reputable name among wine lovers.
Washington State Wineries
In Walla Walla Valley and beyond, Washington State wineries produce a distinguished taste and quality, with many inexpensive and beloved options. And the wine estate continues to grow. Top Washington State wineries include Wahluke Slope, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Snipes Mountain, Naches Heights, and Lake Chelan AVAs.
Let’s take a look at what makes Washington State wine country so special, as well as some of the best Washington wines on the market. If there’s anything you like, you can always pick up a bottle from The Wine Cellar Group, at our Issaquah location!
What Makes A Great Washington Wine?
An impeccable dry growing season, varying microclimates, soil characteristics, and rich water resources are just a few elements that make Washington wines richly diverse.
Although Washington State has shorter growing seasons compared to most southerly wine regions, Washington experiences incredibly long days at high latitude—up to 16 hours of sun at the summer solstice to be exact. Eastern Washington is one of the highest latitude wine regions, and is considered a Continental Semi-Desert due to its arid climate. This makes soil fungus-free, which means growers need fewer anti-fungicide chemicals. In addition, this arid climate helps produce lively, vibrant soils and rich water sources.
Along with a quality dry growing season and healthy soil, Washington State has incredible water sources that contribute greatly to grape ripeness, lack of sugar dilution, canopy management, and dehydration control—all significant factors to growing wine.
Where is the best wine region in Washington State?
The Columbia Valley, where 99% of Washington State’s wine grapes are grown and where the majority of its notable production takes place, is east of the Cascade Mountains. There’s a fair amount of dry heat in the hot summers and some rather cold winters. With enormous coverage, it accounts for roughly one-quarter of Washington State’s total acreage .The Yakima Valley, where 80% of the state’s wine grapes are grown and where the majority of its notable production takes place, is west of the Cascade Mountains. The area has a fair amount of hot summers and some rather cold winters. With tremendous coverage, it accounts for roughly one-fifth of Washington State’s total acreage.
Washington State’s grape diversity is largely credited to the different microclimates. With 14 separate AVA’s blanketing approximately 50,000 acres of vineyard (all, by which, vary from 100 feet above sea level to 1,000 above sea level), the area inhabits a rich combination of water, windy, wetter, cool, hilly, and flat sites. The result of such diversity: a wide variety of different wine tastes and styles.
What wine is Washington State known for?
Out of a whopping 70 varietals, 80% of them are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot and Syrah. Columbia Valley wine is the most recognizable and varied of all Washington’s wine regions. .There are 3 wine regions in Washington that are not included with the rest of the wines: Walla Walla Valley, Willamette Valley and San Joaquin Valley.
Featured Washington Wines
Among the rich variety of wine choices Washington State has to offer, here are some of the best Washington wines that are currently popular among wine enthusiasts.
Charles Smith Black Crown Cabernet Sauvignon
Known as one of Washington’s leading grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon takes over a majority of wine vineyards in the state. To this day, the Cabernet brings in well-earned notoriety and infinite praise from around the world.
Cabernet Sauvignon wineries typically reside in Washington’s eastern side, due to its arid, continental climate and varying solids of sandy loess and basalt. These attributes give Cabernet its wondrous and distinguished intense Washington character.
Washington’s Black Crown Cabernet Sauvignons have a bold richness that burst from the glass. Black fruit, blackberry, espresso, mint, and oak are just a few of the lush characteristics of the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Black Crown Cabernet Sauvignon pairs wonderfully with beef, lamb, and poultry dishes.
Green Darner Riesling
From the Columbia Valley of Washington, Green Darner Riesling reigns supreme and is most famously known for its glittering gold color that’s reminiscent of the green darner’s majestic wings.
With an ethereal taste and divine beauty, the Green Darner Riesling provides a gentle sweetness and off-dry style everyone can love. Overflowing with green apples, lime, and ripe pear flavors, this stunning wine is a perfect sip for the evening. With or without food, this wine makes for a splendid time. The Green Darner Riesling pairs perfectly with pork, shellfish, spicy cuisine, poultry, and cured meat.
Shadow Slant Cabernet Sauvignon
For a deliciously vibrant, smoky black cherry character and current, the Shadow Slant Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect smoky red. Oozing a romantic aura—date nights, romantic getaways, and lovely evenings pairs wonderfully with the rich and indulgent Cabernet.
The Shadow Slant Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Wahluke Slope—a premium enclave of the Columbia Valley and one of the warmest, driest climates in Washington that’s ideal conditions for ripening Cabernet grapes.
The Shadow Slant Cabernet matches nicely with hearty meat dishes, pasta, delicious starter plates including firm cheese and charcuterie, and dark chocolate desserts.
Shadow Slant Chardonnay
As one of the world’s most popular white grapes, Chardonnay is produced in vastly different styles worldwide. When it comes to Washington State, the Chardonnay is uniquely ripe and contains bold flavors and style.
The Shadow Slant Chardonnay grows from the infamous Horse Heaven Hills region from the Columbia Valley and the McNary Vineyard.
Due to the dry, sandy soils, and cooler temperatures, white grape vines can grow deeply rooted, creating the ideal growing conditions for Chardonnay and enhancing its complex flavors. If left unoaked, this Chardonnay can produce sharp pear and apple characters.
The Shadow Slant Chardonnay is especially food-friendly. Top pairings for this wine include pork, turkey, and grilled chicken dishes, seafood, varying salads, pasta, and creamy soups.
Coyote Mint Grüner Veltliner
The Coyote Mint Gruner Veltliner hails from the Yakima Valley of the United States, particularly from the Coyote Mint Grapes-Grüner Veltliner Winery.
For a delectable, refreshing taste, this Gruner Veltliner amber wine carries notes of apple and jasmine floral with a citrus lime finish. Its taste can be described as crisp with delicate pear and apple characters.
Dishes that best align with the Grüner Veltliner include cheese courses, pasta dishes, pork, shellfish, and poultry. For a wine to sit and unwind with the evening, the Coyote Mint Gruner Veltliner is a true and simple delight.
Jones of Washington Sauvignon Blanc
From the Columbia Valley region, the Jones of Washington Sauvignon Blanc is a pleasantly crisp and bright wine with slightly tart finishes, and notes of mango, pears, lemon, and grapefruit. Its full-bodied, fruity, and dry characteristic makes this acidic wine a favorite among wine lovers.
The Jones of Washington Sauvignon Blanc pairs wonderfully with shellfish, vegetarian cuisines, and goat cheese.