Northwest wine

Anna King

As autumn’s golden light bathes the Northwest, wineries across the region are harvesting, crushing grapes and making wine full bore. This year’s fruit looks petite and powerful.

Jim Holmes, owner of the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain in southeast Washington, is one of the godfathers of the state’s wine industry. He says this year's grapes don't show signs of disease, mold or bird damage. 

JJ Williams / Kiona Vineyards

Wine harvest is underway in a small growing region in southeast Washington called Red Mountain. The dusty wedge of earth has been attracting an increasing amount of investment from winemakers from Napa, Canada and even Italy.

In the late-1970s, Red Mountain was mostly sagebrush. A primitive road slashed through the desert. Today, there are only small islands of desert peeking out from a sea of green grape vines.

Joseph B. Frazier / AP Photo

The Northwest wine industry and the region’s grapevines are both getting older.

Many of the distinct wine grape-growing regions are now celebrating 30 years since the federal government recognized them as distinct growing areas also known as “appellations.” And Walla Walla will be the next to celebrate the milestone birthday.

Anna King

Northwest wine grape growers expect this week’s very cold weather to do some damage to their vineyards. But it’s not clear yet how much of next year’s fruit might be affected.

Deep cold on wine vines isn’t good, but several factors determine just how bad it is. There’s the cold itself, and how long it lasts. There’s the elevation, colder air tends to settle in lower valleys. Then, there’s the variety of grape—is it German-tough or less cold-hardy Mediterranean?

Artist rendering courtesy of Washington State University.

Dignitaries and leaders of the Northwest wine industry braved a drizzle Thursday for a ceremonial groundbreaking at Washington State University’s new Wine Science Center in the Tri-Cities. 

There are now nearly 800 licensed wineries in the state of Washington, up from about 40 three decades ago.

Anna King

In the wine business, one good review can mean a lot of money. 

Now, one of the most prominent wine writers in the Northwest is getting into the wine business himself. And the news has agitated some in the industry.

Former Seattle Times columnist Paul Gregutt defends his winery in southeast Washington, but others see a conflict of interest.