Washington is the most northern state on the West Coast of the United States and it is home to immense parks, forests, and spectacular mountain ranges. In addition to breathtaking natural landscapes, Washington is the second-largest wine-producing state in the country after California. Most of the wine regions in Washington are inland, and their climate is rather hot and arid, similar to that of California; indeed, you can have a glass of wine and take advantage of the great temperature and the amazing landscape surrounding the wineries.
In recent years, viticulture developed so quickly that it became the fastest-growing agricultural sector in the state. Washington today has 16 AVAs; Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, and Pudget Sound are the biggest three, but other notable ones are Walla Walla Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, and Columbia Gorge. The expansion of vineyards and the increasing focus on the state of the soil, has contributed to enhancing the preservation of land of agriculture in the entire state.
The main wine-producing regions of Washington are hot, dry, and exist throughout old areas of glacier river beds. Most vineyards are protected from rain and storms coming from the ocean by mountain ranges. The climatic situation is a bit different in the Pudget Sound wine region, which has a more mitigated and maritime climate. Grapes fully grow and mature thanks to the high number of sunshine hours in every Washington wine-producing region.
Over 80 varieties of grape are grown in the wine regions of Washington. The main types are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Merlot. Red wines have historically dominated the Washington wine industry but more recently white wines, especially Riesling, have gained popularity.
White Varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris.
Style of Washington Wines
Washington is most famous for red blends similar to “Bordeaux style” wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are often blended with Syrah and Malbec, creating some complex, bold flavours. The aromas in red wines from the Washington wine regions are mainly those of ripe, forest fruits; they can also present hints of sweet cherries, red currants or raspberries that combine perfectly with plum for a fruit forward palate. Also, notes of vanilla, toasted oak and brown spices can be perceived by the most trained palates.
The two main types of white wines from the Washington wine country are Chardonnay and Riesling. Chardonnay grapes are gently aromatic with flavors stretching from fresh green apple to various tropical fruits; this depends on the vineyard location and the climate. Riesling is grown in cooler sites, for example, closer to the mountains, and the grapes produce citrus aromas, such as lime fruit, lemon, or green apple. In warmer areas, Riesling can present a slightly peach flavor.
Wineries with Open Cellar Door
Badger Mountain Vineyards
The Badger Mountain Vineyards Wineries was the first one in Washington to be certified as organic. It was established in 1982 by Bill Powers and it has always combined conventional and modern winemaking technologies. The main grape varieties grown at the Badger Mountain Vineyards are Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Riesling.
L’Ecole No 41 is another organic-based winery in the State of Washington, more precisely in the Walla Walla Valley wine region. It was established in 1983 and is now managed by the third generation of winemakers. This sustainable winery has been named one of the best 100 wineries in the world by Wine & Spirits Magazine for 17 years! The main grapes cultivated at the Ecole No 41 Winery are Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. All grapes are carefully hand-picked.
The Tero Estates Winery is the oldest in the Walla Walla Valley wine region. The grapes are hand-harvested and then brought to the crush pad where the winemaking process starts. Taro Estates is focused on giving clients the best, most flavorful wines, which is why they produce a very limited quantity. Quality wines represent the philosophy of the winery. The main grape varieties that grow on Taro Estate’s vineyards are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petite Sirah.
Seattle is among the largest cities on the West Coast of the United States, and it is famous all over the world for being the hub of important companies such as Microsoft and Amazon. It is a vibrant, modern and restless city that also became famous thanks to TV series and movies set here. One of the most notable one is Grey’s Anatomy and many enthusiasts of the series visit Seattle to see the Grace Hospital in person.
The most iconic image of Seattle features the Space Needle Tower, a 184 meters high spaceship-like skyscraper. It was built in 1962 and recently underwent a renovation that added to the tower an adrenaline-filled experience. The Skyrises are 24 open-air decks that lean over Seattle.
Another outstanding building in Seattle is Frank Gary’s metal structure that now hosts the Museum of Pop Culture. The museum is more of an exhibition center, be sure to check what event is in town when you visit. A section of the Museum of Pop Culture is the Science Fiction Museum, which showcases artifacts from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Blade Runner movies.
The centre of Downtown Seattle is the Pike Place Market, that is now entirely enclosed by skyscrapers and tall buildings. The density of the constructions, and the various heights of the building, give an idea of the development of the city, that revolved mainly around its market square.
Seattle is also a pretty fashion-forward city, and during the 80s witnessed the appearance of the Grunge style. Grunge fashion is characterized by thrift-shop clothing, loose and large clothes worn in an androgynous and genderless manner. This style was born to match the sounds and mood of grunge music. Kurt Kobain, who was born in Washington, was the grunge fashion icon par excellence.
Spokane – The Forgotten City of the Pacific Northwest
Spokane is the second largest city in the state of Washington, and is a great city to jump off from when headed out to the wine regions of eastern Washington. Spokane has attractions for everyone and of every kind, museums, outdoors, historical sites. It might be an unknown city for the majority of the visitors, but it is for sure worth a visit.
Riverfront is the most characteristic area of the city. The park is 100 acres and it was renovated for the World’ Fair when the US Pavilion (the main building of the park) was built. What remains of the Pavilion now hosts an IMAX Theatre and an ice-skating rink open to the public every day. A highlight of the Riverfront Park is the Spokane Falls, a powerful display of flowing water.
Discover Breathtaking Nature
Washington is home to open spacious skies, long stretches of amber beaches, extensive and breath-taking mountain ranges, and gorgeous stretches of vineyards. The diversity of landscape in Washington is truly astounding and many of the state’s mountains are official National Parks.
Diablo Lake – Submerge Yourself in the Turquoise Waters
The Diablo Lake is situated in the northern part of the North Cascades National Park and is a reservoir that was created by the Diablo Dam.
The water of the lake is of an insanely bright turquoise and is indeed perfect for very instagrammable pictures. To get an even closer look to the colour of the Diablo Lake, you can go on a kayak, a canoe excursion, or even take a swim.
The Diablo Lake Trail is a panoramic hike that rises above the lake, passes over the Ross Dam, and ends after an adventurous passing on a suspension bridge.
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument – A Silver-Screen Volcano
The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is an active volcano in the Cascade Range. The volcano erupted for the last time in 1980, and the explosion was the greatest ever recorded in North America. The legendary eruption even inspired a film starring Pierce Brosnan, Dante’s Peak and released in 1997.
The Harry Ridge’s Trail is the most popular and spectacular in the entire Mount St. Helens area. The starting point is the Johnston Ridge Observatory. On a clear and sunny say, hikers can benefit from amazing sights such as the Spirit Lake and Mount Adam. This trail is rated at a low level of difficulty, since the elevation remains low.
Olympic National Park – Gods do not Live Here
The legendary Gods might not live on top of Mount Olympus (that’s in Greece!), but for sure Mother Nature acted as a goddess in this National Park. Several ecosystems, vast and luscious forests, mountains and glaciers expand over a million acres.
So many activities are available around the Olympic National Park;there is abundant wildlife, night sky viewing sessions, and incredible hikes. From the Park’s visitors centre you can directly start with an easy hike called Peabody Peak Trail.
Food and Drink to Try in Washington
Washington State is famous for its fresh seafood fished directly from the Pacific Ocean, as well as its wine and coffee. Along with this, Washington is also home to a range of community farmers, who harvest and grow their own organic products such as barley, mushrooms, asparagus, and lavender. Washington State, also known as the Evergreen State, is now well known across the world for its smorgasbord of food experiences.
Seattle-Style Hot Dog – West Coast Does it Better
The Seattle-style hot dog is a traditional hot dog, but with a twist. It is, in fact, topped with cream cheese and onions, and yellow American mustard. This street food is sold in carts all around the city and especially when sport events are held in Seattle.
Starbucks Coffee – First Seattle, then the World!
We all know Starbucks Coffee, have seen it in pretty much all the cities we’ve traveled to, and couldn’t avoid but try one of their coffees. Sometimes, people just enter to buy a coffee to take a picture of the iconic paperwhite cup with the bright green logo on it. Well, Starbucks Coffee was born in Seattle in 1971. The first coffee shop location was in the Pike Place Market, which is still open. Today, the first Starbucks is a Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which means it serves the finest coffee types compared to the traditional Starbucks coffee outlets.
Dungeness Crab Cake – The Taste of the West Coast
The Dungeness is a species of crab, typical of the Pacific Coast of the United States. The crab is considered a delicacy as the flesh has a very delicate flavour with a slightly sweet aftertaste. In the State of Washington, but also in California, a popular way to use this crustacean is by making delicious crab cakes.
The main ingredients, together with the crab meat, are mayonnaise, mustard, and a lot of spices. The crab cakes are covered with breadcrumbs and served with pickled red onions.
The most well-known wine state in USA. You can experience amazing wine tasting and tour activities at the various wineries in California . On our site you can read all about this regions to be prepared for your stay.