Washington wine is wine produced from grape varieties grown in the U.S. state of Washington. Washington ranks second in the United States (behind California) in the production of wine.
By 2017, the state had over 55,000 acres (220 km2) of vineyards, a harvest of 229,000 short tons (208,000 t) of grapes, and exports going to over 40 countries around the world from the 940+ wineries located in the state. While there are some viticultural activities in the cooler, wetter western half of the state, the majority (99.9%) of wine grape production takes place in the shrub-steppe eastern half.
The rain shadow of the Cascade Range leaves the Columbia River Basin with around 8 inches (200 mm) of annual rain fall, making irrigation and water rights of paramount interest to the Washington wine industry.
Viticulture in the state is also influenced by long sunlight hours (on average, two more hours a day than in California during the growing season) and consistent temperatures.
The early history of the Washington wine industry can be traced to the introduction of Cinsault grapes by Italian immigrants to the Walla Walla region. In the 1950s and 1960s, the precursors of the state’s biggest wineries (Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery) were founded.
Throughout the rest of the 20th century, the wine world discovered a new aspect of Washington wines with each passing decade – starting with Rieslings and Chardonnays in the 1970s, the Merlot craze of the 1980s and the emergence of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the 1990s.
Washington has fourteen federally defined American Viticultural Areas with all but one located in Eastern Washington.
The largest AVA is the Columbia Valley AVA, which extends into a small portion of northern Oregon and encompasses most of the other Washington AVAs. These include the Lewis-Clark AVA, the Ancient Lakes AVA, Walla Walla Valley AVA, which encompasses The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA, Horse Heaven Hills AVA, the Wahluke Slope AVA, Lake Chelan AVA, Naches Heights AVA, and the Yakima Valley AVA, which in turn also encompasses the Rattlesnake Hills AVA, Snipes Mountain AVA and the Red Mountain AVA.
The Columbia Gorge AVA is west of the Columbia Valley AVA. Washington’s only AVA located west of the Cascades is the Puget Sound AVA.
The Rocks wine-growing region is the newest AVA in Washington state. Wikipedia