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Washington Wine

Washington state is located in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, immediately north of Oregon. Although its wine history is relatively short, it now produces more wine than any other US state, other than California. Almost all wine production occurs in Washington's hot, desert-like eastern part, although there is some grape growing and one AVA (Puget Sound) in the cooler, wetter west.

The Cascade mountain range defines the geography of the region by acting as a barrier between the two parts. The mountains create a rain shadow, effectively blocking most precipitation. This means that the Columbia River Basin in the east only receives about eight inches (200mm) of rain per year, resulting in a continental climate.

Mount Rainier, Washington's highest peak.

Without irrigation from local rivers, which include the Columbia, the Walla Walla, the Yakima and the Snake, grape growing would not be possible. The rivers also play an important role in moderating both summer and winter temperatures. In summer, a flow of cool, moist air rises off the rivers and blends with the dry desert air to freshen the surrounding areas and cool down the vines. In winter, when overnight temperatures can drop as low as -15F (-26.1C), the rivers keep the air circulating and help to moderate the cold. Some vineyards employ wind machines and use trellising which is more open in order to prevent frost from settling and freezing the vines.

Ice Age floods created much of the Columbia River Basin, leaving behind layers of gravel, sand and silt which have mixed with volcanic soils. This mixture of predominantly free-draining, sandy soils and cold winters suits viticulture and has repelled any outbreak of phylloxera. As a result, most grapes are grown on their own rootstocks, which is advantageous from a quality point of view.

Grape growing here is also influenced by Washington's latitude of 46°N, which produces, on average, 17 hours of sunlight per day in the growing season – two hours more than California. When combined with the extreme diurnal temperatures, this results in vines which are capable of achieving good ripeness while maintaining vital acidity.

Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are the main grapes grown in Washington, but the region also produces quality wines from various other varieties.

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Here are some wines produced in this region and all sub-regions, only the first 500 will be shown.
Wine Name
Grape 
Popularity
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $237 111
Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $106 681
Baer Winery Ursa, Columbia Valley, USA Bordeaux Blend Red $39 731
Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $41 766
Col Solare Red Wine, Columbia Valley, USA Cabernet - Merlot - Syrah $66 786
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, USA Syrah $309 938
Charles Smith 'Chateau Smith' Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $18 1052
Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, USA Riesling $20 1204
Leonetti Cellar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, USA Merlot $87 1377
Januik Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $30 1387
14 Hands Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $10 1405
Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah, Yakima Valley, USA Syrah $27 1417
Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $15 1480
Columbia Crest H3 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, USA Merlot $13 1552
Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, USA Syrah $147 1625
Leonetti Cellar Reserve, Walla Walla Valley, USA Bordeaux Blend Red $164 1657
Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot, Columbia Valley, USA Merlot $13 1822
Quilceda Creek Red Wine, Columbia Valley, USA Bordeaux Blend Red $71 1824
Andrew Will Winery Sorella, Horse Heaven Hills, USA Bordeaux Blend Red $71 1840
Chocolatier Red Decadence, Washington, USA Rare Red Blend $10 1840
Northstar Winery Columbia Valley Merlot, Washington, USA Merlot $35 1859
Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Red Wine, Columbia Valley, USA Bordeaux Blend Red $34 2063
Charles Smith 'Royal City' Syrah, Washington, USA Syrah $179 2115
Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon $17 2129
Charles Smith 'Kung Fu Girl' Riesling, Columbia Valley, USA Riesling $13 2257
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