Wahluke Slope is backbone of Washington wine industry

By on July 24, 2016
The Wahluke Slope in Washington state is one of the Columbia Valley's key grape-growing areas.

Workers harvest wine grapes on the western Wahluke Slope in Washington’s Columbia Valley. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Washington winemakers have long regarded the arid and remote Wahluke Slope as a stable and important part of their arsenal.

The Wahluke Slope is an 81,000-acre region surrounded on three sides by the Columbia River. Annually, it can be counted on as one of the warmest agricultural areas in Washington. Today, about 9,000 acres of wine grapes are grown on the Wahluke Slope.

Pronounced “wah-LUKE,” the Wahluke Slope was formed about 12,000 years ago by a series of cataclysmic floods during the end of the last ice age. The result is a region that is consistent in soil type across its 13-mile width. In addition, the Wahluke Slope is rarely struck by the occasional arctic events that can damage Washington vineyards.

While many grape varieties are able to grow on the Wahluke Slope, the best tend to be Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Here are a dozen delicious wines from the Wahluke Slope that we’ve tasted recently.

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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