TUCKED AWAY in a nondescript corner of Woodinville’s Warehouse District is one of Washington’s most talented — and humble — winemakers. John Patterson has quietly been crafting small lots of wine as Patterson Cellars since 2000, when he started the winery in Monroe. This came after working for more than a dozen years at famed Quilceda Creek Vintners in Snohomish. His work there started as a harvest job and turned into a seasonal position that allowed him to work at the winery for…>>>READ MORE on THE SEATTLE TIMES
All across Washington, grape growers and winemakers are currently bringing in the fruits of this year’s labors in the state’s second straight warm growing season for Washington. For some, it will be the warmest year on record. The state is also expecting to bring in a record tonnage of wine grapes due to the warmth of the season and a continued expansion of acreage.
Eastern Washington—where the vast majority of the state’s wine grapes are grown—is well known for its consistently warm, dry climate. However, the last several years have seen more temperatures swings than the norm. 2010 was the coolest year since 1999 and presented a considerable challenge for many of the state’s newly minted winemakers. The year 2011 was cooler still, for some growers their coolest season on record. Meanwhile…>>>READ MORE on Seattle Met
What once was a World War II military training base in the Yakima Valley has evolved into a great vineyard site and provides grapes for one of the region’s best wineries.
Airfield Estates, in Prosser, is part of a four-generation farming family. Don Miller, the family’s second generation in the valley, began planting wine grapes in 1968 on the advice of Walter Clore, a Washington State University researcher known as “the father of Washington wine.”
Today, son Mike Miller’s 900 acres of vineyards include 27 grape varieties. Marcus Miller, Don’s grandson, is the winemaker for Airfield Estates, which launched in 2006. Miller learned winemaking at Walla Walla Community College’s vaunted Center for Enology and Viticulture, then went to work as a winemaker at Tsillan Cellars in Lake Chelan before returning home. Miller’s wines for the family operation tend to be not only universally delicious, but also nicely priced. The winery and tasting room at the Vintners Village in Prosser is built to look like an old airplane hangar, resembling those that once existed at the vineyard after World War II. In addition, Airfield also has a tasting room in Woodinville, not far from Chateau Ste. Michelle. Here are a few Airfield wines we’ve tasted in recent weeks. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the winery directly. Read more by Andy Perdue & Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wine on The North Kitsap Herald
Not too long ago I spent some time touring Woodinville wineries as a guest of the Washington Wine Commission. My days there culminated with attending the Auction of Washington Wines, an event that raised over 1.8 millions dollars (!) to support uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and fund viticulture and enology research at WSU.
But a lot happened leading up to the auction in Woodinville, which is not too far northeast of Seattle (like 30 minutes). There’s a lot going on there: over 100 wineries and tasting rooms. Did I hit all one hundred-plus? Not this time. But I did interview a slew of interesting folks representing Washington wine, from newbies to some of the top names in the state. It’s going to be a two-part extravaganza on my Wine Without Worry podcast. So who is up in Part One? Check it:
Betz Family Winery: Steve Griessel, who owns the winery along with his wife Bridgit, reveals how a wine lover from South Africa finds his way to Woodinville. (Note: Betz Family Winery is not open for visits, but they’d be happy to answer any questions you have about the wines or the winery>>>read more on Jameson Fink
Six Washington wineries made Wine and Spirits Magazine’s top 100 wineries of the year.
Those wineries are Andrew Will, aMaurice Cellars, Cadence, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Gramercy Cellars and L’Ecole N° 41.
“Our blind tasting panels assessed more than 14,500 new wine releases this year — a record number — making the selection of our Top 100 Wineries that much more competitive,” said Wine & Spirits editor and publisher Joshua Greene, in a press release. Some of these wineries have won this honor multiple times. This marks the 20th year of this award for Chateau Ste. Michelle. “Ste. Michelle is honored to be selected on this prestigious list of top 100 wineries from around the world,” said Ste. Michelle’s Lynda Eller. She credited the hard work “of the entire winery team from the vineyard managers to the winemakers and the winery staff. “>>read more on PSBJ
The organization representing growers of wine grapes in Washington state estimates the industry will produce some 230,000 tons of grapes that will head to wineries. That will mark a new record. But the question is, can the state’s wineries handle all of this bounty?
In 2013, the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers estimated a crop of 213,000 tons. They were close; it came in at 210,000. This would be 20,000 tons more.
But what’s turning this bumper crop into a blowout is the sunny, hot summer east of the Cascade Mountains that has led to a rapidly ripening of the crop. And it’s become a management headache, but so far not insurmountable. ”It’s kind of like checkerboard meets Rubik’s cube,” said Bob Betz, the master winemaker for Betz Family Winery. In fact, ten tons of grapes custom grown for Betz, most of which was picked Tuesday morning, will be at the winery by the evening aboard temperature controlled trucks, and will be crushed starting at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
“Seven weeks of work in four weeks,” said Betz. “We started harvesting earlier and our last pick will be much earlier than typical. And what’s it’s done is cause congestion throughout the wineries.”>>read more on KING5
So you’ve checked Sonoma off your list, explored Napa’s Silverado Trail, and wandered the Willamette Valley too? Don’t fret that you’ve exhausted your wine-country options from Atlantic to Pacific—you’re simply primed for an under-the-radar getaway catering to vino aficionados. These five vineyard-dotted destinations deliver delicious varietals amid stunning vistas and gourmet meals. Spanning the country from California to Virginia, they may even be right under your (expert) nose.
What to do: More than 100 wineries and tasting rooms populate this part of the Sammamish River Valley just 30 minutes from downtown Seattle. Between widely distributed favorites, such as Chateau Ste. Michelle, and more boutique vineyards, Woodinville’s producers package about three million cases each year.Two of the area’s originals—Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery—operate tasting rooms seven days a week, plus offer a slew of special events and concerts onsite. Foodies flock to Woodinville for some of Washington’s freshest fare; ingredient-driven restaurants including Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Herbfarm, Barking Frog, and Purple Café and Wine Bar serve Pacific Northwest dishes complemented by largely local wine lists.
It would be technically correct to say that the Washington wine industry’s roots were set down in Woodinville all those years ago when Chateau Ste Michelle established their Woodinville location as a kind of wine destination. It has become the state’s ground zero for consumer wine education with over half of the state’s population within an hour drive.
Washington wine drinkers, largely are being exposed to Washington’s bounty via Woodinville and their demand for Washington wines has driven an industry. And the industry has boomed from 19 wineries in 1981 to over 800 today. The wine industry has grown, and Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Walla Walla, Red Mountain and the Columbia River Gorge among many other AVAs have come to shape the state and it’s wines.
Woodinville however remains at the forefront. Today there’s a new crop of Washington winemakers; making their wine in the warehouses of Woodinville and it’s some of the most exciting stuff going on in the state. (This man’s opinion anyways.) I liken what’s going on with these new producers in Woodinville to the vibe in Walla Walla a couple-three years ago when Kerloo Cellars, Rotie Cellars and Reynvaan were really making folks sit up and take notice.
Over the last many years there has been a trend in Woodinville wine production, in my opinion, that has led to an almost “house style” of Woodinville wine. That formula has been a sort of emulation of the style of wine-making that has been successful at Delille Cellars. Extracted wines, ripe, with big tannin and plenty of new oak. We do however appear to be seeing a shift in that formula that has been so present in Woodinville for so long. The wines, from producers like Avennia, Savage Grace, WT Vintners, Kevin White Winery and Lauren Ashton Cellars offer a variety of wine-making styles and personalities but there tends to be an underlying philosophy of seeking to create wines of balance…>>Read more on Northwest Wine Anthem by Clive Pursehouse
For more than three decades, Brian Carter has crafted some of Washington’s best wines and helped launch several wineries. Now, he’s accomplished a remarkable feat.
So far this year, Carter’s wines have won best in show at three separate Northwest wine competitions.
“You always feel fortunate when your wines are recognized,” Carter told Great Northwest Wine as he walked through a block of Cabernet Sauvignon at famed Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain.
Interview/Podcast with Carter here>>>Great Northwest Wine