March is Washington Wine Month. How are you going to celebrate? With over 700 wineries, Washington is the country’s second largest producer of wine behind California. Whether you’re enjoying the oldest (and largest) winery in the state, Chateau St. Michelle, or one of the 25 wineries that have a home in Spokane, there isn’t a shortage of options. I’d like to offer a challenge for this month (and actually every month). Let’s start a revolution.
The “Buy Wine Direct” movement is a challenge to buy wine from the source or to support locally owned wine shops. Initiatives like HR-1161 threatening direct shipment of wine and Washington’s I-1183 bringing in more big box wine shops, supporting the local merchant and winery is more important than ever. Yes, wineries use distributors to get their product to Costco or large grocers. They do this to get their product to the consumer, however using the middle man cuts deeply into their profits. Buying direct from the local winery adds to the local economy and has a direct financial impact. Local wine shops in Spokane are feeling the pinch of the upcoming changes with I-1183 “It’s like a gorilla is moving into the neighborhood,” said John Allen, co-owner of Spokane’s Vino!
Let’s use Washington Wine Month to start a movement. It doesn’t have to be JUST in Washington. Love bold Napa Cabs? Get online and order direct. Join a Sonoma wine club. Support the regional wine shop. The benefits will be more than economic. Chances are you’ll get wine that has been better cared for in climate controlled settings, better service, and that warm feeling knowing you did the right thing.
Whether you Google+, Tweet or Facebook, use the tag, #buywinedirect. Let’s start a revolution. Are you in? Retweet and share this post to spread the word.
Back to the best wine state in the union!
Washington is a perfect climate for growing wine grapes. Many of the states premium growing regions boast over 300 days of sunshine each year. Wine grapes love long, hot, dry days and cool nights. The Cascade Mountains “rain shadow” effect helps create the climate that viticulturists love. 80% of Washington’s wine grapes are grown in the Columbia Basin in and around the Tri-Cities.
Washington also boasts many unique geological growing regions. With 12 US approved viticulture regions (AVA), the state produces many different quality wine varieties. While California may be known for its Cabernet and Oregon its Pinot Noir, Washington produces quality Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and even quality Spanish varietals Tempranillo and Grenache (Garnacha). Wine lovers can explore the glacial and awe inspiring views of Lake Chelan, the Norman Rockwellesque town of Walla Walla (with over 100 wineries) or the original vineyard driven and rustic Yakima Valley.
While Spokane is not a wine growing region (although Davide Trezzi in Green Bluff is giving it a good go), we are home to 25 different wineries including two of the state’s oldest, Latah Creek and Arbor Crest and a few of the state’s newest V du V and Overbluff Cellars. With the addition of Nectar Tasting Room, Market Place Wine Bar and Cougar Crest Winery, downtown Spokane now has 13 tasting rooms housing 19 wineries. Spokane’s “cork” district is maturing like a finely aged Cabernet.
So, celebrate Washington Wine Month with Washington wine. Whether you’re out at a local restaurant or looking for wine for your next dinner party, buy a high quality Washington wine. While you’re at it buy local. “Buy Wine Direct” is a movement to support locally owned wine shops and local wineries by buying wine direct from them. As you do, more revenue dollars stay in the local community. 90% of Washington wineries produce small quantities and rely on direct purchases and shipments to sustain their business.
Check out these resources for Washington Wine Month.