Wine and Wineries

Washington State's 400 wineries are spread across five distinct regions, most of which are located in the central and south-central part of the state. Washington's long summer days, which in general receive about two more hours of sunlight than many wine producing areas in California, is one of the secrets to its success. The state is the second largest premium wine producer in the country, with nine appellations and more than 300 grape growers to support Washington's claim as a "New World" wine region.

Less than one percent of Washington's wine production comes from the Puget Sound region, but its lush, temperate climate and mild winters provide the perfect setting for growing many of its varietals. Small wineries can be found as far west as the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Peninsula and as far south as Olympia, at the base of the Puget Sound.

In the south-central part of the state, the Columbia River region supports less than a dozen wineries whose varietals benefit from the area's moist marine breezes and cool, temperate nights. Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris are classic wines for this area. To the east, the Walla Walla region benefits from long growing seasons. Its 100+ wineries are known for their Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The Yakima Valley region, further inland, receives dry, hot summers and crisp winters, producing a range of varietals that include Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot.

Although the Columbia Valley region has less than 20 wineries to its name, it includes more than 15,000 vineyard acres, spanning across nearly one-third of the state. Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are among the region's most popular varietals.

Enjoy a tour of some of Washington's unique wineries now, by clicking on the five regions listed to the left of this page.

Related Web Sites

Washington Wine Commission. 93 Pike Street, Suite 315, Seattle, WA 98101. Phone: 206-667-9463; Fax: 206-583-0523.

Columbia Valley Winery Association. PO Box 6644 Kennewick, WA 99336. Phone: 509-628-8082; Toll-free: 1-866-360-6611. E-mail

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