Here come the Northwest wines.
Just 10 years ago, when Sunset surveyed wineries you could visit in Washington and Oregon, there were only eight. Today, the number tops 70, and Idaho adds another 5 to the Northwest's roster. Still more are gearing up for their first crush of premium wine grapes--Vitis vinifera-- this fall.
Quality has kept pace with the numbers. In international tastings, Northwest wines repeatedly vie for top honors, with newcomers often earning surprised-sounding headlines. The critics' consensus seems to be that the Northwest is emerging as one of the great wine regions of the world, its reputation resting largely on the six varietals pictured above.
The wineries gladly let you see for yourself. Almost all offer tours--often a casual look around and a chance to chat while you sample current releases. As our listings on pages 64 and 65 suggest, you'll need to get back-roads directions as you go: wineries are tucked out of the way, often miles apart. But with a bit of planning, you can visit several in a day, using Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Salem, Eugene, Roseburg, or Boise as a base.
You may also want to investigate Northwest wines stocked by your wine merchant. Out of state, distribution is generally limited to a few of the major producers. You'll find prices comparable to those of California's premium wineries --usually in the $5 to $12 range.
Washington: grapes are big business
The recent boom has put grape production in Washington ahead of every state except California. Most of the grapes come from the Columbia Basin, in the dry semidesert east of the Cascades, where vast sweeps of sagebrush have given way to vineyards.
Scant rainfall here--just 7 to 9 inches a year--makes irrigation a must. The climate poses other challenges too: subzero winters endanger the dormant vines, and late spring frosts can kill tender flower clusters. But summer's cool nights and long, sunny days allow grapes to ripen while retaining desirable acidity. Conditions also suit the development of Botrytis cinerea, the mold that concentrates grape sugar and intensifies the flavor, making rich late-harvest wines possible.
Among white varietals, White Riesling (also called Johannisberg Riesling) is the front-runner; other strong producers are Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon. Cabernet Sauvignon is the premier red wine grape, followed by Merlot.
On scene here are the Northwest's gbiggest wineries, but the vineyards also supply almost all of the grapes used in western Washington. Wine-growing west of the Cascades is still largely experimental, involving small patches of cool-climate varieties such as Muller-Thurgau from Germany.
Oregon: small hillside vineyards
From Portland south to Grants Pass, you'll find wineries tucked onto south-facing hillsides in the cool, moist, mild-winter climate of western Oregon. The contrast to eastern Washington is complete: parceled out into 5- to 20-acre plots, the vineyards rub elbows with orchards and nurseries. Winemaking is often a family enterprise, and the living room may also be the tasting room.
With an annual rainfall approaching 50 inches, vines get all the water they need-- and then some. But getting enough of the sun's heat is another matter. To give vines maximum sunlight and combat the hazard of mildew, vineyards are carefully sited, then trained and pruned vertically like narrow hedges. Often another defense is needed--protective netting to stave off snacking robins.
Oregon's pride is its Pinot Noir, although Riesling and Chardonnay are also reliable mainstays. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Gewurztraminer play lesser roles.
Take a glance at Oregon wine labels and you'll notice alcohol percentage ranges a few points below California norms, a consequence of the low sugar levels. It's also worth noting that the state's labeling law, strictest in the U.S., requires that the wine contain at least 90 percent of the varietal named on the bottle.
Idaho: just showing its potential
A decade ago saw the first efforts at commercial winemaking in Idaho. So far vineyards remain concentrated at the southwest edge of the state in the Snake River Valley. Growing at elevations as high as 3,000 feet, vines are backed by bare or pine-dotted hills overlooking neat rows of orchards.
The biggest challenge is the severe climate --much like that of eastern Washington. Leading varieties are Riesling and Chardonnay, trailed by Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, and Gewurztraminer. Grapes from this part of the state (along with some trucked in from Washington) also supply Idaho's two northermost wineries.
Celebrating Northwest wine
This month, a number of celebrations mark the approach of harvest, which generally runs from mid-September to November. These three bring together wines and winemakers of their region.
Pasco. August 2, 3, and 4. Sixth annual Tri-Cities Wine Festival. For details, call (509) 586-4015.
Prosser. August 11. Prosser Wine and Food Fair. Call (509) 786-3177.
Salem. August 24 to September 3. Oregon State Fair. Call (503) 378-3247.
Reading up before you go
The following paperback guidebooks are among the most current. They include winery profiles and useful locator maps.
Northwest Wine, by Ted Meredith (Nexus Press, Kirkland, Wash., 1983; $8.95).
Touring the Wine Country of Oregon, by Ronald and Glenda Holden (Holden Pacific, Seattle, 1984; $8.95).
Touring the Wine Country of Washington, by Ronald and Glenda Holden (Holden Pacific, Seattle, 1983; $7.95).
Two other publications offer detailed winetouring help. Discover Oregon Wines and Wineries is a pamphlet available from the Oregon Winegrowers Association, 4640 S.W. Macadam Ave., Suite 150, Portland 97201; send 25 cents to cover postage. Northwest Wine Almanac is a monthly tabloid published by Noel Bourasaw, Box 85595, Seattle 98145; a year's subscription costs $7.50.
Photo: White Riesling
This is the Northwest's top-producing variety; style ranges from dry and crisp to sweet late-harvest
Photo: Cabernet Sauvignon
Washington's premier red wine grape can yield rich, full wines, but they often need bottle-aging to smooth out
It's grown widely in all three states. Style of wine runs from delicate to intense, soft to austere
Photo: Pinot Noir
This is Oregon's best red, though results vary. Finest examples are medium-bodied, smooth
Suited to cool Northwest conditions, it produces wines with distinctive spicy bouquet, dry or sweet finish
Vines do well in eastern Washington, Idaho, southern Oregon; results are usually rich, full-bodied
Photo: Framed by Riesling vines, grassy swath lures picnickers at Ponzi Vineyards (#44 on our map) southwest of Portland
Photo: In blue barn on Bainbridge Island (#13), the Bentryns make Ferryboat White from a small plot of Muller-Thurgau grapes
Photo: Irrigation circles surround Chateau Ste. Michelle's new million-gallon River Ridge Winery (#28) in arid eastern Washington
Photo: Selections posted in tasting room at Mount Baker Vincyards (#1) reflect owner Al Stratton's successful trials with cold-resistant varietals, some little-known
Photo: Tractor trundles through Mulhausen Vineyards (#45) near Newberg in western Oregon, where hillside vines are backed by Douglas fir forests. Summer pruning keeps lush foliage channeled into tall rows to allow maximum sun exposure and air circulation
Photo: Red wines age in oak at Ste. Michelle's Woodinville facility (#6), the Northwest's best-known winery
Photo: Stainless steel tanks set scene for casual tasting and tours led by Oregon winemaker Myron Redford at his Amity Vineyards (#53)
Photo: 78 Northwest wineries welcome you for tours, tasting, picnicking
Our map locates 78 Northwest wineries that are making classic vinifera table wines. Except as noted, all are open for tasting and tours. We give summer hours, general locations, and telephone numbers; call ahead for detailed road directions. The listings also indicate where you'll find picnic spots.
1. Mount Baker Vineyards 11 miles northeast of Bellingham on State 542; (206) 592-2300. Wednesdays through Sundays 11 to 5. Picnicking.
2. Lost Mountain Winery 3 miles west of Sequim and 6 miles south of U.S. 101; (206) 683-5229. Open by appointment. Picnicking.
3. Neuharth Winery 1/4 mile south of U.S. 101 on eastern outskirts of Sequim; (206) 683-9652. Wednesdays through Sundays noon to 5.
4. Haviland Vintners Just west of I-5 in Lynnwood; (206) 771-6933. Wednesdays through Saturdays 11 to 3, Sundays noon to 4.
5. Quilceda Creek Vintners 2 miles north of Snohomish, east of State 9; (206) 488-7733. Open by appointment.
6. Chateau Ste. Michelle 2 miles south of Woodinville on State 202; (206) 488-1133. Weekdays 10 to 4:30, weekends 10 to 6. Picnicking.
7. French Creek Cellars In Redmond on Sammamish River; (206) 883-0757 Thursdays through Saturdays 11 to 5. Picnicking.
8. Columbia Winery (formerly Associated Vintners) In Bellevue at 1445 120th Avenue N.E.; (206) 453-1977. Wednesdays through Sundays 11 to 4. Picnicking.
9. Paul Thomas In Bellevue at 1717 136th Place N.E.; (206) 747-1008. Open by appointment.
10. Vernier Wines In south Seattle at 430-3 S. 96th Street; (206) 763-3633. Open by appointment.
11. E.B. Foote Winery In south Seattle at 9354 Fourth Avenue S.; (206) 763-9928. Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:30 to 9:30, Saturdays 9:30 to 3:30. Picnicking.
12. Daquila Wines In downtown Seattle at 1434 Western Avenue; (206) 343-9521. Tuesdays through Fridays 11 to 3, Saturdays 11 to 5.
13. Bainbridge Island Winery 1/4 mile north of ferry dock on State 305; (206) 842-9463. Wednesdays through Sundays noon to 5. Picnicking.
14. Hoodsport Winery 1/2 mile south of Hoodsport on U.S. 101; (206) 877-9894. Daily 10 to 6.
15. Cascade Cellars In Tacoma at 1952 Commerce Street; (206) 591-6222. Saturdays 10 to 5, Sundays noon to 4.
16. Manfred Vierthaler Winery 3 miles southeast of Sumner on State 410; (206) 863-1633. Daily noon to 6.
17. Salishan Vineyards 1 mile north of La Center on North Fork Road; (206) 263-2713. Weekends 1 to 5 and by appointment. Picnicking.
18. Mont Elise Vineyards In Bingen on State 14; (509) 493-3001. Daily noon to 5.
19. Quail Run Vintners 5 miles north of Zillah off State 12; (509) 829-6235. Mondays through Saturdays 10 to 5, Sundays noon to 5. Picnicking.
20. Champs de Brionne Winery 8 miles west of George on Road W N. W.; (509) 785-6685. Daily 11 to 4 (opens in August). Picnicking.
21. F.W. Langguth Winery 13 miles east of Mattawa on S.W. Road 24; (509) 932-4943. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 10 to 5. Picnicking.
22. Stewart Vineyards 6 miles west of Sunnysie on Cherry Hill Road; (509) 854-1882. Daily 10 to 5. Picnicking.
23. Tucker Cellars 2 miles southeast of Sunnyside on State 12; (509) 837-8701. Daily 9 to 6. Picnicking.
24. Chateau Ste. Michelle, Grandview Winery In Grandview; (509) 882-3928. Tuesdays through Sundays 10 to 5.
25. Yakima River Winery 2 miles west of Prosser on N. River Road; (509) 786-2805. Daily 10 to 5. Picnicking.
26. The Hogue Cellars In Prosser on Meade Road; (509) 786-4557. Daily 10 to 5. Picnicking.
27. Hinzerling Vineyards In Prosser on Sheridan Avenue; (509) 786-2163. Mondays through Saturdays 10 to noon and 1 to 5, Sundays noon to 4.
28. Chateau Ste. Michelle, River Ridge Winery 1 mile north of Paterson on State 221; (509) 875-2061. Daily 10 to 4:30. Picnicking.
29. Blackwood Canyon Vintners 3 1/2 miles northeast of Kiona off State 224 on Sunset Road; (509) 588-6249. Weekends by appointment.
30. Kiona Vineyards 2 1/2 miles northeast of Kiona off State 224 on Sunset Road; (509) 588-6716. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking.
31. Preston Wine Cellars 5 miles north of Pasco off U.S. 395; (509) 545-1990. Daily 10 to 5:30. Picnicking.
32. Woodward Canyon Winery 12 1/2 miles west of Walla Walla on U.S. 12; (509) 525-4129. Open by appointment.
33. Lowden Schoolhouse Winery 12 1/2 miles west of Walla Walla on U.S. 12; (509) 525-0940. Open by appointment. Picnicking.
34. Leonetti Cellar In Walla Walla at 1321 School Avenue; (509) 525-1428. Open September 15 and 16 from 11 to 6 and by appointment.
35. Worden's Washington Winery 5 miles southwest of downtown Spokane off I-90; (509) 455-7835. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking.
36. Arbor Crest 3 miles east of downtown Spokane off Upriver Drive on Buckeye Avenue; (509) 484-9463. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking.
37. Latah Creek Wine Cellars 6 miles east of downtown Spokane off I-90 on Indiana Avenue; (509) 926-0164. Weekdays 10 to 4, Saturdays 10 to 5, Sundays noon to 5. Picnicking.
38. Nehalem Bay Wine Co. 1 mile south of Nehalem just east of U.S. 101 on State 53; (503) 368-5300. Daily 10 to 5. Picnicking.
39. Cote des Colombes Vineyard 2 miles west of Banks off Cedar Canyon Road; (503) 324-0855. Weekends 1 to 5. Picnicking.
40. Tualatin Vineyards 7 miles northwest of Forest Grove on Seavey Road; (503) 357-5005. Weekdays 10 to noon and 1 to 4, weekends 1 to 5. Picnicking.
41. Shafer Vineyard Cellars 4 1/2 miles west of Forest Grove on State 8; (503) 357-6604. Weekends noon to 5. Picnicking.
42. Oak Knoll Winery 4 miles south of Hillsboro on Burkhalter Road; (503) 648-8198. Wednesdays through Sundays noon to 5, Saturdays 11 to 5. Picnicking.
43. Elk Cove Vineyards 3 miles southwest of Gaston on Olson Road; (503) 985-7760. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking. (No tours.)
44. Ponzi Vineyards 8 miles southwest of Beaverton on Vandermost Road; (503) 628-1227. Weekeneds noon to 5. Picnicking.
45. Mulhausen Vineyards 10 miles north of Newberg on Jaquith Road; (503) 628-2417. Weekends noon to 5. Picnicking.
46. Adelsheim Vineyard 5 miles northwest of Newberg on Road 102; (503) 538-3652. Open twice a year. Write to be put on mailing list: Route 1, Box 129D, Newberg 97132.
47. Chateau Benoit In Lafayette on Mineral Springs Road; (503) 864-3666, 864-2991. Weekdays 11 to 5, weekends noon to 5. Picnicking.
48. Knudsen Erath Winery 2 1/2 miles west of Dundee on Worden Hill Road; (503) 538-3318. Weekdays 10 to 3, weekends 11 to 5.
49. Sokol Blosser Winery 3 miles southwest of Dundee on Blanchard Lane; (503) 864-3342. Daily 11 to 5. Picnicking. (No tours.)
50. St. Josef's weinkeller 4 miles south of Canby on S. Barlow Road; (503) 651-3190. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking.
51. Arterberry Winery In McMinnville at 905 E. 10th Street; (503) 472-1587, 244-0695. Weekdays 9 to 5, weekends 11 to 6.
52. The Eyrie Vineyards In McMinnville at 935 E. 10th Street; (503) 472-6315. Open by appointment.
53. Amity Vineyards 1 mile northeast of Amity on Rice Lane; (503) 835-2362. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking.
54. Hidden Springs Winery 6 miles east of Amity on Eola Hills Road; (503) 835-2782. Weekends noon to 5. Picnicking.
55. Glen Creek Winery 9 miles northwest of Salem on Orchard Heights Road N.W.; (503) 371-9463. Tuesdays through Sundays 10 to 5. Picnicking.
56. Honeywood Winery In Salem at 501 14th Street S.E.; (503) 362-4111. Weekdays 9 to 5, Saturdays 10 to 5, Sundays 1 to 5.
57. Ellendale Vineyards 3 miles northwest of Dallas on Reuben Boise Road; (503) 623-5617. Daily noon to 6. Picnicking.
58. Serendipity Cellars Winery 16 miles southwest of Monmouth on Dunn Forest Road; (503) 838-4284. Fridays through Sundays noon to 6. Picnicking.
59. Silver Falls Winery 4 miles north of Sublimity on Cascade Highway; (503) 769-9463. Weekends 10 to 6 or by appointment. Picnicking.
60. Wasson Brothers Winery In Sandy on U.S. 26; (503) 668-3124. Weekdays 9 to 5, weekends 9 to 6.
61. Hood River Vineyards 5 miles southwest of Hood River on Westwood Drive; (503) 386-3772. Saturdays through Thursdays 1 to 5. Picnicking.
62. La Casa de Vin 2 miles east of Boardman off I-84 on E. Wilson Road; (503) 481-3151. Open by appointment.
63. Alpine Vineyards 3 miles northwest of Alpine on Green Peak Road; (503) 424-5851. Weekends noon to 5. Picnicking.
64. Forgeron Vineyard 3 miles north of Elmira on Sheffler Road; (503) 935-1117. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking.
65. Hinman Vineyards 15 miles southwest of Eugene on Briggs Hill Road; (503) 345-1945. Daily noon to 5. Picnicking.
66. Henry Winery 1 mile west of Umpqua on Hubbard Creek Road; (503) 459-5120. Daily 11 to 5. Picnicking.
67. Hillcrest Vineyard 4 miles northwest of Melrose on Vineyard Lane; (503) 673-3709. Daily 10 to 5. Picnicking.
68. Bjelland Vineyards 12 miles northwest of Winston on Reston Road; (503) 679-6950. Daily 11 to 5. Picnicking.
69. Girarder Wine Cellars 10 miles west of Winston on Reston Road; (503) 679-7252. Daily noon to 5.
70. Jonicole Vineyards 2 miles east of Winston on Winery Lane; (503) 679-5771. Daily 11 to 5. Picnicking.
71. Rogue River Vineyards 6 miles southwest of Grants Pass on U.S. 199; (503) 476-1051. Weekends by appointment.
72. Siskiyou Vineyards 6 miles east of Cave Junction on State 46; (503) 592-3727. Daily 11 to 5. Picnicking.
73. Valley View Vineyard 1 mile south of Ruch on Applegate Road; (503) 899-8468. Daily 11 to 5.
74. Pucci Winery 11 miles southeast of Sandpoint off U.S. 95; (208) 263-5807. Tuesdays through Sundays noon to 5. Picnicking.
75. Camas Winey In Moscow at 521 N. Moore Street; (208) 882-0214. Open by appointment. (No tasting.)
76. Louis Facelli Winery 10 miles west of Caldwell off State 19 just north of U.S. 95; (208) 482-7719. Sundays through Thursdays noon to 5, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 6.
77. Weston Winery 8 miles south of Caldwell on State 55; (208) 454-1682. Wednesdays through Sundays noon to 6. Picnicking.
78. Ste. Chapelle Winery 12 miles southwest of Caldwell off State 55; (208) 459-7222. Mondays through Saturdays 10 to 6, Sundays noon to 5. Picnicking.
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|Title Annotation:||Washington, Oregon, Idaho|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1984|
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