Nate Crane digging out the last fermentation tank of the vintage, Va Piano Vineyards, Walla Walla, Washington / Photo by Andréa Johnson Photography
Washington is the nation’s second-largest wine-producing state, with more than 1,000 wineries and 60,000 acres of grape vines. Despite its standing and influence, many misconceptions persist. Here are the top six.
Myth #1: You’ve got the wrong Washington
When we talk about “Washington wine,” we’re talking about Washington State, not Washington, D.C. While some might assume this to be broadly understood, most every producer in the state would confirm how common this misunderstanding is, particularly as one gets further away from the West Coast.
Master of Wine Bob Betz has spent decades promoting Washington wines and viticultural regions. He tells the story of giving a presentation on the state’s wines years back, where upon finishing someone in attendance asked, “Which side of the Potomac are the vineyards on?”
Myth #2: Washington State is too wet and too cold to grow wine grapes
When people imagine Washington State, they often think of evergreen trees, Seattle and rain. How could grapes possibly grow in such a climate?
While some producers do just that, more than 99.8% of wine grapes are grown east of the Cascade Mountains, hours from Seattle. Due to a rain shadow caused by the Cascades, the eastern half of the state is an arid and semiarid desert.