- Oregon wine harvest fell by 29% in 2020, but growth continues
- Quilceda Creek acquires 22 acres of famed Champoux Vineyards from Woodward Canyon
- Hat Ranch Winery tops Idaho Wine Competition with Cabernet Franc from Lewis-Clark Valley
- Central Oregon Winegrowers schedule summer summit
- Avennia purchases vineyard, tasting room on Red Mountain
- Heat units in Northwest vineyards as much as 29% ahead of last year
- Washington Wine Industry Foundation awards 6 of its 7 scholarships to women
- Kiona, Barnard Griffin toast 40th Red Mountain harvest with fundraiser Cab
- Pandemic prompts Red Mountain wineries to postpone consumer weekend
- Hot, dry climate July report marks finale by Greg Jones at Linfield
Walla Walla Valley continues to build its reputation with red wine
During the past four decades, the Walla Walla Valley has a well earned reputation as a top producer of red wines.
It’s a curious development because the region isn’t particularly well-suited for growing red wine grapes. In fact, it isn’t much warmer than the Yakima Valley, which is well known for growing white wine grapes. And because of the Blue Mountains, more rain falls in the Walla Walla Valley than just about anywhere else in the vast and arid Columbia Valley.
So why all the red wine? It has more to do with the pioneers. Leonetti Cellar is the oldest producer in the valley and made its reputation on red wine, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. That was followed by Woodward Canyon Winery, which in 1990 earned Washington’s first top 10 wine on Wine Spectator magazine’s annual top 100 wines of the world with the 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon. Later came wineries such as L’Ecole No. 41, Pepper Bridge and Walla Walla Vintners, all wineries with reputations built on red wine.
Today, of the 2,800 acres planted in the Walla Walla Valley, fully 95 perfect is planted to red wine varieties, leading with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. With the expectation of every new winery in the valley to produce stellar reds, don’t expect the red-to-white ratio to dramatically shift in the near future.
Here are 12 red wines made from Walla Walla Valley grapes that we have tasted in recent weeks. Ask for them at your favorite wine shop or contact the wineries directly.