Riesling was one of the founding grape varieties in Washington state with plantings dating back to 1967 in the Yakima Valley. Today, Washington has emerged as a world class Riesling growing region with 5,307 acres of Riesling grapes planted, making it the largest Riesling producing region in America.

The Columbia Valley’s high summer temperatures, combined with mean temperatures only slightly higher than Alsace or Germany, create full-flavored, yet elegant, wines. Cool evenings preserve the crisp acids essential to quality Riesling, resulting in the incredible balance celebrated in Washington Riesling.

Harvest period temperatures in Washington are significantly lower than in other New World growing areas. The diversity of Riesling sites in the Columbia Valley, coupled with the climate, allows for a full range of styles, from bone dry to botrytis-affected dessert wines.

The soils of Washington’s Columbia Valley were born from some of the most catastrophic geological events in our planet’s history. More than 12 million years ago, a powerful river of lava carved up what today is known as the Columbia Valley. The ancient lava followed the Columbia River and left behind enormous deposits of basalt. 15,000 years ago, the Missoula floods ripped across the Pacific Northwest. A series of colossal floods sliced through the landscape (each flood equaling the volume of ALL the world’s rivers combined).

Classic soils of Washington’s Columbia Valley are wind-blown loess on the top of granitic deposits from the Missoula floods, sitting above the basalt bedrock. Young vines in search of water and nutrients easily establish deep root systems here. As the second most widely planted white grape in the state, Riesling has found an idyllic home throughout the Columbia Valley, from the cooler sites of the Yakima Valley, to the higher elevations closer to the Cascade mountains, to the warmer regions of the Wahluke Slope.

Riesling is an extremely popular wine in the Northwest not only because of its fresh, floral, flavorful style and high quality fruit, but also because of how well it pairs with Northwest cuisine. The Pacific Northwest enjoys access to an array of fresh seafood, including Dungeness crab and oysters, which are magical pairings with Riesling. Also popular in the Pacific Northwest is Asian fusion cuisine. Riesling’s slight sweetness and crisp acidity stands up beautifully to the spice in Thai food or curry.


CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE – Founded in 1934, and based in Woodinville, Washington, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with Mosel Valley winemaker Ernst Loosen of Dr. Loosen wines. STE-MICHELLE.COM

PACIFIC RIM – Pacific Rim Winery in Richland, Washington, is passionate about Riesling (in fact, nearly 90% of Pacific Rim’s production is comprised of Riesling wines). They are passionate about crafting world-class Riesling. They are passionate about extolling the wondrous virtues of Riesling. Their winery, in Washington’s Columbia Valley, provides the ideal soils and climate for growing Riesling. PACIFICRIMWINE.COM