Washington wines hold a special place in our hearts at Rising Wines Collective, and we’re excited to continue spreading the word about what makes these wines unique. Here are five of our favorite facts about Washington wines.
Time to rummage in the closet for that big “We’re number 2” foam finger!
Tucked up in the northwest corner of the U.S., Washington is the second-largest wine producer in the nation after California. Sixty thousand acres of wine grapes in 20 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) find their way into 17 million cases of wine. A few of those bottles should make it to your table. (If you’re still looking, that foam finger is probably next to the giant cowboy hat. Our secret.)
Unique terroir of Washington wines
Washington straddles the 46N parallel, joining premium wine regions around the world. The Wine Commission describes Washington as a land of fire and ice, with terroir shaped by time, volcanic activity, and glacial floods. The result is a diverse landscape that combines soils, elevation, and climate into an ideal home for an impressive eighty different grape varieties.
The Columbia Valley AVA
The Columbia Valley AVA is Washington’s most extensive and includes most of the state’s sub-appellations. The Columbia Valley benefits from a rain shadow from the Cascade Mountains, and the Cascades tame the Pacific Ocean influences resulting in a different growing space than other west coast states. A visit confirms classic a character; Washington wines have trademark rich, ripe New World flavors that weave in Old World structure.
Bring your sunscreen
Summer sunlight during the growing season peaks at 17 hours per day, allowing grapes to reach full ripeness and develop intense flavor. Eastern Washington is a high desert with daytime temperatures often over 90 degrees, but there are no agitated and overheated grapes here. Nightfall brings a 30-40 degree temperature drop. This diurnal shift preserves vital acidity and is key to a more intense acid profile in the wines compared to other warm regions.
Big country. Big wine. Big value.
A lot is happening in Washington, with its 1,100+ wineries. The vibrant wine scene includes hundreds of urban wineries in Seattle, Woodinville, Spokane, and even more in the vineyards.
Washington wines are richly fruited, structured, complex, and age-worthy. There are many tempting options, from bone-dry Riesling to robust Cabernet Sauvignon.
Value-conscious wine lovers note that 45% of Washington’s wines have received 90+ scores from the Wine Spectator in the last ten years, at an average bottle price of half the comparable bottles from other regions. Learn more fun facts about Washington wines and ways to incorporate them into your regular wine routine.