BRETT – NEED TO REFRESH. If there’s one thing we got, it’s character. We know we’re a tidbit biased, but our winemakers and grape growers are everyday legends. They just have this deep love for what they do, and what their wine can do: bring people together.
There is no shortage of personality in Washington State, which means there is no shortage of story. We could listen to our winemakers and grape growers talk for days (while sipping their wine, obviously). We decided that since 2020 has done its best to keep us apart, we would do our best to end this year together by combining words & wine. And so, for this holiday season, we’re sharing 12 stories from around our state, in the form of bottles of wine.
1. Washington’s New Royal Slope AVA: Washington State welcomed Royal Slope as its 15th American Viticultural Area! The TTB published the final rule for Royal Slope on September 2. Nestled wholly within the Columbia Valley AVA, Royal Slope is located just south of the Ancient Lakes AVA and to the north of the Wahluke Slope AVA. It is largely defined by its south-facing slopes and high elevation compared to surrounding areas. It’s a large AVA with variation in soils, slopes, and aspects to grow a wide range of grape varieties.
2. Washington’s new Candy Mountain AVA: Sweet 16! Excitement continued in the month of September as a 16th AVA was recognized! Candy Mountain is now Washington’s smallest AVA, adding even more to our impressively diverse geological offerings. Candy Mountain’s 815 acres sit southeast of Red Mountain and is within the Yakima Valley AVA, located wholly within the Columbia Valley AVA. Fun fact: as part of the proposal, TTB also expanded the boundary of the existing Yakima Valley AVA by 72 acres to fully encompass the Candy Mountain AVA. Candy Mountain is located on an isolated mountain with excellent cold air drainage that rises above lower elevation plains.
3. The Rise of Rhone in Washington State: Washington shares the 46th parallel latitude with some of the top wine regions in Europe, so it is no wonder that Rhone varieties are thriving across our AVAs. With our northern latitude and a growing season that sees up to 17 hours of sunlight a day, Washington’s geography and climate deliver a perfect balance of New World fruit with Old World structure. Washington winemakers are producing remarkable wines with Rhone-style grapes including Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carménerè!
4. Diversity: Lesser-Known Grape Varieties:
The same factors that allow familiar varieties to flourish, also make it possible for our winemakers to stretch their creative wings and experiment with lesser-known varieties. Washington produces more than 70 grape varieties that our expert winemakers craft into delicious wines. Our 16 unique AVAs provide growing conditions to allow different grapes to flourish in different climates, and our world-class Washington State University Wine Science Center provides our grape growers and winemakers with cutting edge tools and information to make best in class wines.