Monthly Archives:March 2016

11 Mar

Getting to Know: College Cellars

Since the doors opened in 2003, College Cellars has been one of the few teaching wineries located in the United States. And, it’s not all that surprising to find a dedicated wine school in the heart of Washington’s wine country – the unique school is on the campus of Walla Walla Community College in the Walla Walla Valley. We sat down with Instructor of Enology Sabrina Bitz Lueck to talk everything wine.

Lueck says enology and viticulture are multi-faceted and there are lots of pieces to the puzzle. At College Cellars students manage six acres of vineyards and produce commercially available wines. This gives a hands-on approach to their two-year education program and students even get their name on all wine that is marketed for sale, Lueck says.

 

Article written by: Kenneth Clarkson

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10 Mar

Washington Wine Month: Explore Accordingly

-From Great Wine News

Washington State is most known for their apples, cherries, Walla Walla onions and evergreen trees. But during the month of March, their wine takes the stage.

Currently, the 2nd largest premium wine producer in the United States, Washington is making is their mark on palates around the world.

Celebrate this year’s Washington Wine Month by learning their history, understanding their terroir and of course, tasting their wine.

History:

Washington’s first wine grapes were planted at Fort Vancouver by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1825. By 1910, wine grapes were growing in many areas of the state, following the path of early settlers. French, German and Italian immigrants pioneered the earliest plantings.

The arrival of Prohibition in 1920 put a damper on wine grape production, but ironically may have helped spawn early interest in home winemaking. At the end of Prohibition the first bonded winery in the Northwest was founded on Puget Sound’s Stretch Island. By 1938 there were 42 wineries located throughout the state.

The first commercial-scale plantings began in the 1960s. The efforts of the earliest producers, predecessors to today’s Columbia Winery and Chateau Ste. Michelle, attracted the attention of wine historian Leon Adams. Adams in turn introduced pioneering enologist Andre Tchelistcheff to Chateau Ste. Michelle. It was Tchelistcheff who helped guide Chateau Ste. Michelle’s early efforts and mentored modern winemaking in this state. The resulting rapid expansion of the industry in the mid 70s is now rivaled by today’s breakneck pace, where a new winery opens nearly every 15 days.

Significant developments in Washington State include the formation of the Washington State Wine Commission, a unified marketing and trade association, in 1987. In 1999, the Washington Wine Quality Alliance (WWQA) was established to spearhead development of industry standards in winemaking and labeling. In 2003, the Washington Wine Institute and its educational partners celebrated the state’s $2.3 million investment (per biennium) to create new 2-year and 4-year degree programs supporting Washington’s growing wine industry. The program provides an educated work force to satisfy the needs of the growing industry. A degree program, ongoing education and research enhance the state’s reputation as a quality wine producing region.

The trend for quality wine production started by a few home winemakers and visionary farmers has become a respected and influential $3 billion plus industry. From Italy to Australia, winemakers from all over the world have chosen to establish themselves in Washington, where they can create wines reflecting this region’s unique characteristics.

Fun Facts:

National rank:
2nd largest premium wine producer in the United States.

Number of wineries:
750+

Number of wine grape growers:
350+

Appellations:
Thirteen American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), as recognized and defined by the United States Treasury Department; Alcohol & Tobacco Taxes &Trade Bureau.

Varieties produced:
30+ varietals

Leading white varietal:
Riesling

Leading red varietal:
Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine production:
12 million cases

Record harvest:
2010 with 160,000 tons

Total economic impact on Washington State:
$3 billion*

Total economic impact on U.S. economy:
$4.7 billion*
*figures from the 2006 Economic Impact Study by MKF Research, LLC

Average hours of summer sunlight:
17.4 hours per day, about 2 hours more than California’s prime growing region.

There is sun 300 days a year.

Annual rainfall:
Eight inches (20.32 cm) in Eastern Washington (the major grape growing region) 48 inches (121.92 cm) in Western Washington

Eastern Washington is one of the highest latitude wine regions in the world.

There is up to 40º F difference between high day and low night time temps.

arious Soil Types:
A combination of mostly sandy, rocky based alluvial, some windblown over periodic volcanic basalt lift and patches of clay.  Types include loess, basalt, clay, silt, loam, sandy loam.

The Seasons of Wine
Planting……………………January – March

Fermenting…………………..August – January

Growing…………………..March – September

Bottling……………………….February – May

Pruning……………………June – September

Harvesting………………..August – November

Celebrating………………….All Year Long

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10 Mar

New Study Shows Growing Economic Impact for Washington State’s Wine Industry

Wine sales and production in Washington State are growing, reports a new study released today by Washington State Wine. The study details the economic and fiscal impacts of wine and wine grapes in Washington State and measures the effect of jobs, labor income and business revenues directly supported by wine and related activities such as tourism. Results show an increase in total state economic impact of $1.3 billion since 2009, or a compound annual growth rate of 8.5 percent per year. The total economic impact of the Washington State wine industry was $4.8 billion in 2013, up from $3.5 billion in 2009.

See the original posting here on Washington Wine

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10 Mar

Seattle listed No. 3 in America’s Top Urban Wineries

Unsurprisingly, this tech hub hosts several urban wineries. But when Charles Smith (known for K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines, Sixto, Substance, Secco Italian Bubbles and Charles & Charles), moved his winemaking operations from Walla Walla, Washington, to Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood last year, people took notice. Smith’s mammoth 32,000-square-foot production facility and tasting room, Jet City, is the second-largest urban winery in North America. Smith’s location next to ­Boeing Field provides plenty of entertainment, as guests can watch planes take off and land in two uniquely styled tasting spaces.

By contrast, Eight Bells Winery is shoehorned into an alley in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. Former home winemakers Frank Michiels, Andy Shepherd and Tim Bates show creativity in using every square inch of space to produce their small-lot wines. They also employ an army of local volunteers to help during crush. The winery’s focus is to sell directly to the consumer at very reasonable prices, especially considering that much of the fruit comes from Red Willow ­Vineyard, one of the state’s premier locations. —Sean P. Sullivan

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Roussanne 10 Mar

Sagemoor buys Basin City-based Gamache Vineyards

— Gamache Vineyards, one of Washington’s oldest and most respected vineyards, has new owners.

Allan Brothers of Naches announced this week that it has purchased Gamache Vineyards in Basin City. Allan Brothers, a fourth-generation apple farming family, bought historic Sagemoor Vineyards last year.

Roger and Bob Gamache established Gamache Vineyards in 1982 with their father. Last year, Bob Gamache announced his retirement, and his brother Roger said the sale of their 220-acre farm overlooking the Columbia River helps the family with that transition.

“We needed to move on and get that completed,” Roger Gamache said.

Though his brother is now retired, Roger Gamache has no plans to slow down. Last spring, he planted 5.5 acres of wine grapes on famed Red Mountain in the eastern Yakima Valley. He also manages a juice grape vineyard near Basin City and has a commercial farming operation that includes vineyard pruning and harvesting services.

And he will continue to run his 3,000-case winery, Gamache Vintners, which has a tasting room in the Yakima Valley community of Prosser.

“Nothing changes with the winery,” Gamache said. “We will keep the same grapes. Everything should stay the same.”

Gamache’s wines are made by Charlie Hoppes, owner and winemaker of Fidelitas Wines on Red Mountain, whose 15-acre property is adjacent to Gamache’s new planting. Hoppes said he looks forward to continuing to work with Gamache grapes. He added that he enjoys working with that fruit because the coolness of the Gamache site allows the grapes to ripen more slowly and unveil fascinating varietal characteristics.

Kent Waliser, general manager of Sagemoor Vineyards, is excited about the new acquisition because it adds to the quality and legacy of Sagemoor.

“We’ve been talking about this for quite awhile,” Waliser said. “The Gamaches recognized a year ago that they wanted to make some changes, so this is the logical solution to that.”

Sagemoor was first planted in 1972 along the Columbia River north of Pasco. Today, the farm includes Sagemoor, Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards along the Columbia and Weinbau Vineyard upriver on the Wahluke Slope. Some of Sagemoor’s oldest vines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc that date back to 1972.

Until last year, Sagemoor was owned by a group of investors who came together beginning in the late 1960s. At the time, Washington’s wine industry was minuscule. When the Sagemoor group took the chance to plant hundreds of new acres, it singlehandedly fueled the growth of the Washington wine industry by becoming the state’s first large-scale vineyard.

Today, Sagemoor provides grapes to about 80 wineries, primarily in Washington.

Andy Perdue is a wine journalist, author and judge. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.

From our friends at Great Northwest Wine

See the original article here

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Roussanne 10 Mar

Sagemoor buys Basin City-based Gamache Vineyards

— Gamache Vineyards, one of Washington’s oldest and most respected vineyards, has new owners.

Allan Brothers of Naches announced this week that it has purchased Gamache Vineyards in Basin City. Allan Brothers, a fourth-generation apple farming family, bought historic Sagemoor Vineyards last year.

Roger and Bob Gamache established Gamache Vineyards in 1982 with their father. Last year, Bob Gamache announced his retirement, and his brother Roger said the sale of their 220-acre farm overlooking the Columbia River helps the family with that transition.

“We needed to move on and get that completed,” Roger Gamache said.

Though his brother is now retired, Roger Gamache has no plans to slow down. Last spring, he planted 5.5 acres of wine grapes on famed Red Mountain in the eastern Yakima Valley. He also manages a juice grape vineyard near Basin City and has a commercial farming operation that includes vineyard pruning and harvesting services.

And he will continue to run his 3,000-case winery, Gamache Vintners, which has a tasting room in the Yakima Valley community of Prosser.

“Nothing changes with the winery,” Gamache said. “We will keep the same grapes. Everything should stay the same.”

Gamache’s wines are made by Charlie Hoppes, owner and winemaker of Fidelitas Wines on Red Mountain, whose 15-acre property is adjacent to Gamache’s new planting. Hoppes said he looks forward to continuing to work with Gamache grapes. He added that he enjoys working with that fruit because the coolness of the Gamache site allows the grapes to ripen more slowly and unveil fascinating varietal characteristics.

Kent Waliser, general manager of Sagemoor Vineyards, is excited about the new acquisition because it adds to the quality and legacy of Sagemoor.

“We’ve been talking about this for quite awhile,” Waliser said. “The Gamaches recognized a year ago that they wanted to make some changes, so this is the logical solution to that.”

Sagemoor was first planted in 1972 along the Columbia River north of Pasco. Today, the farm includes Sagemoor, Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards along the Columbia and Weinbau Vineyard upriver on the Wahluke Slope. Some of Sagemoor’s oldest vines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc that date back to 1972.

Until last year, Sagemoor was owned by a group of investors who came together beginning in the late 1960s. At the time, Washington’s wine industry was minuscule. When the Sagemoor group took the chance to plant hundreds of new acres, it singlehandedly fueled the growth of the Washington wine industry by becoming the state’s first large-scale vineyard.

Today, Sagemoor provides grapes to about 80 wineries, primarily in Washington.

Andy Perdue is a wine journalist, author and judge. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.

From our friends at Great Northwest Wine

See the original article here

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