Definition - What does Washington (WA) mean?
Washington is considered one of the main wine regions located in the United States next to Oregon and California. It is divided into regions that are separated by the Cascade Mountain range, where the region is much drier compared to the western side of the range.
The wine history of the region dates back to the 1860s and 1870s when immigrants with a winemaking heritage came from Germany and Italy and planted vines.
WineFrog explains Washington (WA)
Washington is home to some of the most prestigious wine estates in the US. It is ranked second behind California in the production of wine and has exports to over 40 countries worldwide.
Its wine regions cover over 43,000 acres located in the shrub-steppe eastern half of the state, in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains. The mountains block the rain from coming further east creating an arid climate, requiring irrigation for vineyards. However, it is highly regulated and sometimes not permitted.
The first grapes brought to the region were Cinsault by Italian immigrants in the Walla Walla region. Other grapes currently under cultivation are Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Two of the biggest wineries, Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia Winery began in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, there are more than 850 wineries.
Washington has 14 defined American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). All but one (Puget Sound AVA) is located on the eastern side:
- Columbia Valley
- Walla Walla Valley
- Ancient Lakes
- Lake Chelan
- Horse Heaven Hills
- Red Mountain
- Wahluke Slope
- Yakima Valley
- Naches Heights
- Snipes Mountain
- Rattlesnake Hills
- Columbia Gorge
- Quilceda Creek Vintners
- Andrew Hill
- Chateau Ste. Michelle
- Champoux Vineyard