Sean Sullivan - Washington Wine Report

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Washington gets its 15th appellation: the Royal Slope

Washington gained its 15th appellation September 2nd, with the approval of the Royal Slope, the U.S.’s latest American Viticultural Area (AVA).  “I personally think it’s the best overall appellation in the state,” says Aryn Morell, who makes wines for Gård Vintners, as well as his own A. Morell Wines, using grapes from the Royal Slope.Read the rest...

Pic of the Vine - August 2020

Pictured here, the last burst of summer sun pushes Whidbey Island Winery's vineyard toward harvest.“Greg Osenbach has been steadily creating wines from the island for 30 years,” noted contributing photographer Richard Duval. “His lovingly maintained vineyard – all white wine grapes -- just outside of the town of Langley has long been a favorite of mine...

Harvest begins in Washington

Harvest has begun in the Columbia Valley. Fidélitas on Red Mountain started things off on August 19th, picking Sauvignon Blanc from Klipsun Vineyard. Others quickly followed suit, with DeLille Cellars and L’Ecole No 41 also picking Sauvignon Blanc from Klipsun on August 20th and 21st respectively. L’Ecole winemaker Marcus Rafanelli noted the recent...

L’Ecole continues to carry the banner for Washington Merlot

L’Ecole No. 41 is one of Washington’s most influential wineries, having a longer history and reach than most wineries in the state. The winery not only promotes Walla Walla and Washington across the country and around the world, it also champions varieties many others do not, including Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and the more frequently seen Merlot.L’Ecole’s...

Pic of the Vine - July 2020

As wineries and tasting rooms started to work amidst pandemic restrictions, contributing photographer Richard Duval began his long-delayed travels around the Washington wine community. Keeping to all precautions and staying within the restrictions of the regions, he’s made brief forays to eastern Washington wine country, including a rich (and solo)...

Veraison begins in eastern Washington

Veraison, the changing of color of the grapes, has commenced in the Columbia Valley.Precept Wine vineyard manager Brittany Komm-Sanders noted veraison in Cabernet Sauvignon and Dolcetto at the winery's Skyfall Vineyard in Yakima Valley on July 21st. Veraison began in Cabernet on that same date in 2019 and on July 12th for Dolcetto.Meanwhile Browne Family...

The ‘soft wisdom’ of Reininger Walla Walla Valley Merlot

Chuck Reininger of Reininger Winery was not always destined for a life of wine.“My dream was to start a brewery,” Reininger recalls. However, fate soon took him in a different direction.Having grown up in Bellevue, Washington, Reininger subsequently married a woman with a five generation Walla Walla Valley history. The family moved to the valley in...

The Long Haul of Mark Ryan Winery Merlot

Many wine lovers have epiphanies in their wine journeys. For Mark McNeilly, founder of Woodinville’s Mark Ryan Winery, his “kick in the head” from Washington Merlot came early.“I was working for Unique Wine Company [and] making garage wine back in the late 90s,” McNeilly recalls. “I bought a six pack of L’Ecole Merlot from Larry’s Market in North Seattle,...

Bloom begins in eastern Washington

Bloom has begun in the Columbia Valley, with vineyard manager Brittany Komm-Sanders of Precept Wine seeing it in Chardonnay at Skyfall Vineyard in Yakima Valley on May 21st. Komm-Sanders noted bloom began in this same block on May 24th in 2019.Here we go!

Northstar remains a guiding light for Washington Merlot

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines North Star as “the star of the northern hemisphere toward which the axis of the earth points.” So the axis of Washington wine once pointed strongly toward the singularity of the state’s Merlot.Northstar Winery was founded in 1994 by Stimson Lane, the parent company of Chateau Ste Michelle, with the goal of producing...

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