When we think of the great wine regions of the world, or even of the USA, Washington State rarely springs to mind. But the last 25 years have seen a veritable explosion of wine production in the state. To illustrate this point as recently as 1981, Washington had only 19 wineries. In 2008 there were more than 400!
Most of the popular grape varieties grow well here including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. When we look at the facts it is easy to see why Washington is so well suited to viticulture: Washington enjoys the same latitude as Bordeaux and Burgundy, and basks in an average of 17 hours of sunlight. Little wonder that Washington is now the second largest producer of wine in America. The first full weekend of December is famous for the Holiday Barrel Tasting, where all new vintages of wine are opened for the first time.
There are many great place to visit to sample Washington wine, but we would recommend Walla Walla. Whilst somehow sounding strangely Maori, Walla Walla is in fact the Native American name for “Place of Many Waters,” Located at the southeast region of Washington, Walla Walla’s climate is perfect for producing some of the best wine in the country and has become a place of pilgrimage for wine enthusiasts.