The state of Washington is really beginning to make some serious waves in the wine world. The US wine industry has so long been dominated by California, it has - for much of the past few decades - been a little difficult for other states and regions to establish themselves on the world stage. In recent years, though, there has been increased interest and enthusiasm in the produce coming out of Washington state, thanks to a dedicated collection of winemakers and innovative wineries which are showing that Washington is a force to be reckoned with.
One such winery is Columbia Crest. This wine company was set up the 1980s by Doug Gore, a man who felt sure he had the knowledge, techniques and land with which to make wines which could put Columbia on the map. Before long, the winery began producing characterful, single-varietal wines which gradually received more and more recognition as the years passed. It wasn’t difficult to see why: the winery had a great location, mineral rich soils, fed by the Columbia River in the shadow of the beautiful, rolling Horse Heaven Hills. The ripening season in Washington is long and warm, and as such, the grapes reach full ripeness and take on plenty of the finest features of their terroir, before imparting them to the wine in the bottle.
Columbia Crest have a dedication to delivering both drinkable, approachable and unpretentious wines for the enjoyment of those keen to discover what Columbia has to offer, alongside more specific, small-lot, handcrafted wines for the discerning explorer of particular regions. They use a range of traditional and modern methods in their wine production, and take a particular interest in the heritage of their fruits, going to great lengths to produce the most effective and flavorful strains of the grape varietals they grow. Their methods have clearly been highly effective: in 2009, Columbia Crest was the first winery in Washington’s history to win Wine Spectator’s ‘Wine of the Year’ award, for their exceptional 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a historic moment, not just for Columbia Crest, but for Washington State as a whole, as a new wave of interest and enthusiasm poured into the state from across the world, prompting Columbia Crest to continue their founder’s dreams and stick to what they clearly do best.