by Greg Gottsacker
It's true the Midwest loves its beer...God knows I can feel all the consumed IPAs, Stouts, and session ales still working their way through my body as I wrap up 3 beer filled weekends in the beer-washed cities of Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago. Uff-da.
The development of new breweries in the Midwest (and everywhere for that matter) never ceases to amaze me and shows the innovation, passion, and creativity "pouring" out of our Midwestern and kaleidoscopic Germanic, Scandinavian and Irish roots. Like the West Coast tech valleys have their tech booms, so does there exist a beer boom.
Yet there is another boom going on in the wine world in Washington State. Washington (think Microsoft, Starbucks, and other herculean tech, social, and growth companies) is known for its innovative culture, and the Washington State Wineries have aligned with that reputation into growing into one of the most celebrated regions in the world!
March is Taste Washington Wine Month and here are a couple fun facts that I want you to learn about Washington wines. Don't let the Guinness and Basketball blind you--try some wine this month!
1. Washington Wine region and production really just got started about 30 years ago.
2. Washington is the 2nd largest producer in the United States behind California.
3. Washingon wine regions get more summer sunlight hours than California. (16 hours)
4. 51% white and 49% red wine production.
5. Main grapes produced are some of the "classics": Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Riesling, and Chardonnay.
6. The ground or "terroir" is probably the most unique in the world. With a combination of rain-forests, volcanoes, glacial lakes, and mountains...the rough soils and contrasting climates make this terroir...well wicked cool.
7. The dramatic cooling temperatures in September stop grapes from ripening naturally. This means we don't have to REMOVE alcohol or manipulate the wine. The result: intense, but pure fruit flavor.
Don't know what to drink? Here are some ideas:
Do you like Chablis/Chardonnay from Burgundy? Try Washington Chardonnay from Colombia Gorge and the Southwest region
Do you like Cabs from Napa? Try out some reds from Red Mountain from the Tri-Cities region.
Do you like Cab Francs from Loire Valley? Try out Yakima Valley. Does that sound familiar beer drinkers? Yakima makes some pretty good hops too!
Do you like Cotes du Rhone? Try out some Syrah from the Walla Walla region.
Of course don't forget to put that wine (or Irish Whiskey) in your favorite aerating stemware Helicium. The stemless make perfect whiskey glasses too! Enter "WASHINGTON" at heliciumglass.com as the coupon code to receive 25% off all glasses for the rest of March!