Known for its colder climate and rainy weather, the state of Washington may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about the wine-producing regions of the world. However, Wine Country in Washington state is internationally recognized for making good quality wines.
Encompassing fourteen federally-defined American Viticultural Areas like the Walla Walla Valley AVA and Yakima Valley AVA, the wine-growing region is quite extensive. It’s located east of the Cascade Mountains1 and spans along the Washington-Oregon border. When it comes to wine production in the United States, it ranks second, only behind California. Here’s a list of the most common Washington state wine varieties produced in this region.
This wine is the most produced red wine in Washington with 18,528 acres of vineyard land dedicated to growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.2 A heady, fruity, and overall complex grape. The wine it produces has a full body and high tannin taste profile with primary flavors of black cherry, black current, cedar, and baking spices.
With 6,099 acres dedicated to growing this grape variety, Riesling is the white wine produced by most of the state’s wineries. This aromatic and floral white grape variety makes a highly acidic wine ranging from dry to intensely sweet. Characterized by flavors of lime, green apple, and jasmine.
One of the world’s most popular grape varieties, 7,403 acres produce this white wine in Wine Country. Washington Chardonnays are distinctly crisp and delicate wines with primary flavors of yellow apple, starfruit, pineapple, and vanilla.
Another popular red grape variety, Merlot grapes grow on 9,019 acres of vineyards. Merlot produced in Washington are full-bodied wines that are moderately tannic and a higher alcohol content than their French counterparts produced in the Bordeaux region. Known for its black cherry flavors with hints plum, bay leaf, and a chocolate finish.
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- Courtney Schiessl, Forbes – The Essential Wines Of Washington State