It has been an interesting three days here in Eastern Washington. Not quite what I had anticipated but still eye opening and a wonderful journey into WA State wine country. We've had perfect weather and I can see firsthand why this region grows fantastic fruit and makes fantastic wines.
Leaving Seattle heading East on I-90 (yes the same one that we use on our trips to SW MI Wine Country!), the terrain turns quite dry after the wet and abundant forests of Western WA and Snoqualmie Pass. The dry landscape is punctuated with pockets of irrigated green patches that are home to wonderful fruit orchards and grape vines.
Which leads me to ponder what effects climate change will have in this area especially if drought and water rights become a bigger issue in the future (which is what I think will be an important economic shock to the current status quo).
Yakima Valley lies about 4 hours SE of Seattle and it is one of the first AVAs in WA State. The AVA is now being divided into sub-AVAs as many of the growers and wine makers realize that some pockets of the region can produce superior fruit and having smaller sub-AVAs increases the market price of both the fruit (per ton) and the final bottled product.
The hot days and cool evenings lends itself well to growing grapes. And some grapes such as Rhone varietals (think Cabernet Franc, Granache, Viognier, Syrah,) have found a welcome home here in this area. The wines speak for themselves. And the price points are well below what similar wines from CA or France command.
I am here to source a good red blend that we can sell under our FORTY WINKS label. I am happy to say that we have uncovered several leads that will fit the bill and I am quite hopeful I can find a partner winery that will work with us to create our 6th wine in our FORTY WINKS portfolio.
Growing a business is hard and finding the right partners is even harder. But the fun part is the discovery and exploring the areas that make great wine. So work and life combine and that's how I like it! Salute!