The Wines of Washington
Why Washington Grapes Produce Great Wines
Washington state has over 850 wineries making it the second largest, after California, wine-producing region in the United States. Its wine history is fairly of recent times with the first vineyards appearing in the Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys by 1914. Prohibition stopped wine production all over, yet after that came strict wine rules. Washingtonians only knew the sweet and dessert wine made from Concord grapes. By the 1960s the laws were overturned when proved that Washington had enormous potential for quality vinifera wine.
Washington has the same latitude as most of Europe’s wine-growing regions, with long hours of direct sunlight and where produce is not affected by the same diseases and insects. However there is frost, the harvest can be timed for the next best season. The rivers of the Columbia, Wala Wala, Snake and Yakima regions provide irrigation and cooling conditions conducive to grape-growing. The rocky and volcanic soil is also ideal for the same. The Cascade Mountains create a rain shadow effect, blocking the wet conditions on the other side from the Pacific Ocean.
Due to the long growing season that promotes proper phenolic balance in the grapes, several of the best known wines of Washington have been produced – the Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Chardonnay. They come from the rich vineyards of Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley (which includes the AVA’s Horse Heaven Hills, Lake Chelan, Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley), Spokane County, and Puget Sound.
Exploring Wineries near Mount Vernon Hotel
Exploring wineries and tasting fine wines in Washington? Staying at our Mount Vernon hotel brings you close to one of the state’s best American Viticultural Area in western Washington. It is the only AVA in the state that is located west of the Cascade Mountains – the Puget Sound AVA, which has many wineries. Stay with us and check out the Skagit Valley Wine Route.