As harvest looms, we put spotlight on great Washington vineyards

By on August 19, 2013
Washington state has 50,000 acres of wine grapes.

For the next 10 days, we will spotlight 10 great vineyards in Washington state. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Washington state has reached more than 50,000 acres of wine grapes divided into at least 350 different vineyards.

Determining the best is no small task, but for the next 10 days, we will profile 10 great Washington vineyards.

We embark on this 10-day journey with the intention of putting the spotlight on vineyards we think are making a distinctive difference in the quality of Washington wine and viticulture.

We considered many criteria when coming up with this list of top vineyards. We looked at their history, their viticultural innovations and the quality of their grapes based on our blind tastings of thousands and thousands of Washington wines throughout the years. We talked to dozens of top winemakers who work with multiple vineyards and asked them who they might choose and why.

Then we came up with a list of 30 or so vineyards and began the difficult task of whittling them down to the 10 we decided to write about. Arguments ensued, and negotiations took place. We debated the merits of each choice. We talked about vineyards we’d walked and the top growers in various appellations. Frankly, that original list of 30 vineyards might have been adequate for spotlighting Washington’s truly great vineyards, and we will probably get to them all as time allows.

Wine grapes ripen on Red Mountain in Washington state.

Grapes ripen on Red Mountain. (Photo by Niranjana Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

We offer this list now as a way to highlight the viticultural side of the business as we head into harvest. The 60 days after the final story runs Aug. 29 will be a madcap dash toward Halloween, when harvest should be pretty well wrapped up.

We hope you enjoy the next 10 days and the stories behind the vineyards, the challenges Washington’s dedicated grape growers face and their ultimate triumphs as the fruits of their labor are delivered to winemakers and transformed into the liquid sunshine that brings joy to our souls.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is founding partner of Great Northwest Wine LLC and a longtime wine columnist. 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 the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books.

One Comment

  1. Ricky says:

    This is a great writing idea, guys! Don’t know if it’s just Andy’s gig or both of yours, but I look forward to reading your comments every day. Should be a very interesting year for sure. GDD tracking has this year surpassing 1994 in some regions. (!!)

    Regards y’all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.