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Washington Wine Region

Premium Wine Producer of the United States

Washington, which is a U.S. state in the Pacific Northwest region, is currently the second-largest wine producer in the country.

Only next to California, this state is producing more wine when compared to all other states in the U.S.

With over 50,000 acres of vineyards, the state is found to be contributing more than 16 million cases of wine each year.

As the title suggests, the state is concentrated towards the premium wine market category and thus, the wines from Washington are sold for a minimum of $8.

Wine grape varieties
Let’s see more about the wines from Washington here…

Overview of Wine Production in Washington

If we take a look at the history of winemaking in Washington, we can understand that the wine industry of Washington is relatively younger.

However, the state can acquire an important spot in the country’s wine market in a short duration.

We can see the Washington wines in all the fifty states of the U.S. Also, these wines are found to be sold in over forty other countries internationally.

At present, the state has more than 900 wineries with over 350 vine growers all over the state. Overall, the state is found to be cultivating more than 40 different vine varieties with the majority of wine production occurring in the hotter, desert-like eastern parts of the state.

However, we can find a little wine activity in the cooler western parts too!

Wine Regions and AVAs of Washington

At present, the state has 14 American Viticultural Regions, which are:

  • Ancient Lakes
  • Columbia Gorge
  • Columbia Valley
  • Horse Heaven Hills
  • Lake Chelan
  • Lewis-Clark Valley
  • Naches Heights
  • Puget Sound
  • Rattlesnake Hills
  • Red Mountain
  • Snipes Mountain
  • Yakima Valley
  • Wahluke Slope
  • Walla Walla Valley

Of these, only the Puget Sound AVA is lying in the western part of the state. It is to be noted that the western part of Washington is accounting only for less than 1% of the state’s total wine production.

Climate and Soils of Washington

The Cascade Mountains is defining the geography of the state and is acting as a barrier between the eastern and western Washington.

These mountains are creating a rain shadow, thereby resulting in continental climatic conditions here.

The angle of the sun in the growing areas of Washington is found to be similar to the world-famous wine regions of Europe.

The eastern parts are found to be receiving only around 7-12 inches of rainfall annually. And, it’s to be mentioned that the eastern parts have the incredible water sources like the rivers of:

  • Columbia
  • Walla Walla
  • Yakima
  • Snake

Without these important freshwater resources, vine cultivation would not have been possible here. The soil types that can be found in the state are:

  • Clay
  • Loess
  • Basalt
  • Silt
  • Loam
  • Sandy loam
Alcohol and Distilleries

Wine Grapes of Washington

We can see that the geography and climatic conditions of Washington are ideal for the cultivation of vinifera grape varieties.

Of all the varieties cultivated here, red grapes are forming 51% while the white grapes are forming 49%.

As the wine industry is continuing to develop here, it finds several grape varieties that grow in the microclimates of the states.

Major white varieties of Washington

  • Riesling
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon blanc

Other Whites:

  • Gewürztraminer
  • Semillon
  • Pinot gris
  • Viognier
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Müller-Thurgau
  • Madeleine Angevine
  • Siegerrebe
  • Muscat Ottonel
  • Orange Muscat
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Aligote

Major red varieties of Washington

  • Cabernet sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Syrah
  • Cabernet franc

Other Reds:

  • Malbec
  • Pinot noir
  • Sangiovese
  • Lemberger (blue franc)
  • Grenache
  • Zinfandel
  • Barbera
  • Petit verdot
  • Nebbiolo
  • Mourvèdre
  • Petit sirah

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Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam


I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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