America’s favorite wine well-represented in Northwest

By on February 26, 2018
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Ripe Chardonnay grapes await harvest in a vineyard north of Prosser in Washington’s Yakima Valley. (photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Chardonnay is, and continues to be America’s favorite wine. Of course, California leads the way, with 675,000 tons crushed in last fall’s harvest, Chardonnay made up a full 16 percent of the state’s total.

In Washington, while Chardonnay is the No. 1 white grape and No. 2 overall, winemakers crushed about 45,000 tons in fall 2016. This is a number that has steadily risen in recent years. As of 2017, acreage in Washington has nearly topped 7,700 acres, up from 2,600 acres as recently as 1993.

Chardonnay arrived in Washington in 1963, and has steadily grown since then. Of course, leading the way is Ste. Michelle Vineyards, which reportedly makes more a million cases a year, rivaling its production of Riesling.

Chardonnay can be made in several styles, from heavily oaked to clean, sleek styles made in stainless steel tanks, and combinations of both. This exploration of styles is injecting newinterest in Chardonnay among wine lovers. Here are a few examples from Washington, Oregon and Idaho we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at you’re favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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