Washington Wine Country Overview
It was 200 years ago that pioneering explorers Meriweather Lewis and William Clark traversed the amazing terrain of Washington State. The same vistas that captivated them then, remain today, but modern explorers discover something our early visitors never witnessed: Washington State is one of the world’s most dynamic wine regions.
Washington State cultivates more than 40 grape varieties, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. With 13 unique growing regions, the State is a mosaic of landscapes, from evergreen coasts and snow-capped mountains to a vast sagebrush desert where the sun shines 300 days a year. Diversity is a part of the culture – the wine industry ties creative people from different backgrounds and several countries around the world.
The winemakers and grape growers live and work in small towns where old homes, beautiful barns and converted mills reflect the American west. They are active in their communities, connected to the land and eager to share their stories. When stopped in a tasting room, the person you see walking in the vineyard, driving a forklift or opening bottles behind the counter is often the owner or winemaker. The wines echo this authenticity – rare natural conditions permit cultivation without the common, manipulative practice of vine grafting or intensive use of chemicals. They harvest the purest expression possible for every wine.
The innovative growers and winemakers broke ground in a vast, wild territory where conventional wisdom said they could not. And they have expanded that work to create America’s second-largest wine region, with more than 50,000 acres of vines and more than 850 wineries.