The Top 5 Most Interesting Wine Stories in the Pacific Northwest in 2015
Here are the top 5 topics about wine in the pacific northwest that captured our interest this year.
5. Northwest wines dominate Wine Spectator top 100
Through the years, wines from Washington and Oregon have traditionally fared well in Wine Spectator’s top 100 list. But 2015 was pretty special.
Of the top 50 wines on the list, Northwest wines dominated, holding 20 percent of the positions, including the Nos. 2 and 3 wines. Harvey Steiman, editor-at-large for Wine Spectator who covers Washington and Oregon for the world’s largest and most respected wine periodical, said the Quilceda Creek Vintners 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was close to being the No. 1 wine in the world.
(by the way that is something that has happened only once: In 2009, the Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was Spectator’s wine of the year.)
4. Washington, Oregon wines continue incredible growth
Northwest wine regions are only growing stronger, according to new economic reports.
In September, a new economic impact study showed Washington’s wine industry has continued its success, growing to 4.78 billion per year and providing 26,900 jobs. Washington is the country’s No. 2 wine-producing state, with California a dominant No. 1. .
And according to a similar study released in January, Oregon‘s wine industry provides $3.3 billion to the state’s bottom line. Wine-related jobs in Oregon top 17,000. Oregon is the No. 4 wine-producing state, after New York.
3. Northwest wine countries survive drought
Water woes filled headlines up and down the West Coast, but the Northwest was able to weather the lack of water better than California. Most wine regions in the Pacific Northwest managed to make it through the historically hot year, with the Yakima Valley of Washington being the most-affected area by the state’s drought.
As the year comes to an end, snow accumulation in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon already are reportedly higher than they’ve been for the previous couple of years, providing potential relief to Northwest grape growers.
2. Hot, early 2015 vintage across Northwest
The 2015 vintage will be remembered as the warmest on record. And in Washington, it likely will be another record.
Across the Northwest, wine grapes matured quickly and were harvested at historically early times. In Washington, the first grapes were picked on Red Mountain on Aug. 6, nearly a month earlier than normal. This trend was seen in Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho, too.
Harvest also ended a couple of weeks earlier than usual, and British Columbia icewine producers also were able to get to work early, thanks to a November freeze that turned their remaining grapes into frozen marbles.
Early indications are that wineries are pleased with their young wines so far.
1. Wine Science Center opens
In August, the Wine Science Center opened for business. This means 2015 will be remembered as the year of the Wine Science Center. The $23 million facility on the campus of Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland ushers in a new era for the state wine industry.
When the completed facility was unveiled in June, a new name also was revealed: the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center, which honors the contributions of the state’s largest and oldest wine-producing company.
The 40,000-square-foot facility will not only educate the next generation of Washington winemakers, but it also provides the space and technology to conduct and provide research that will help grape growers and winemakers improve their crafts. The Wine Science Center is led by Thomas Henick-Kling, who arrived at WSU in 2009 with the goal of building the facility.
Via: Great Northwest Wine