Sometime in the early 90’s my late mother gave me this poster designed by Andy Anderson that represented the state of the Washington Wine Industry. The poster has a treasured spot above the toilet in my current master bath. The other day as I glanced at it yet again it occurred to me just how much things have changed in the Washington wine landscape over the last 30 years.
You might need to save the image and blow it up elsewhere to see the details but here are some of the striking differences I noticed.
Around the edge of the poster there is commentary on the leading varieties at that time in the state. It struck me that the signature variety of the last decade, Syrah, was not even referenced on the poster. You might make an argument that the current signature variety is Cabernet Sauvignon but for me it is the super unique Syrah wines from the likes of Cayuse, Force Majeure, Reynvaan, Gramercy and others that define Washington.
I also noticed that at the time of publication there were only 3 AVA’s in Washington. Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley and Walla Walla Valley. There are now 14 AVA’s in Washington including some that have flown under my radar like the Puget Sound AVA and the Naches Heights AVA.
In the early 1990’s Woodinville Wine County pretty much consisted of Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery. There are now over 130 wineries in Woodinville.
I’d venture at least a third of the wineries on the poster are no longer in existence. Facelli winery, for instance, closed in 2016 after being in business for 27 years. Champs de Brionne Winery, situated next to the Gorge Ampitheater closed in 90’s. Back in the day you could bring their wines into the concerts. I’m unable to figure out why they closed but after attending my first Gorge concert long ago I always thought it might be problematic having concert goers peeing on the grape vines. Many of the wineries I just had never heard of. Hunter Hill? Johnson Creek?
It bears mentioning that some of the leading producers in 1990, although not explicitly called out, are still at the top of their game. Leonetti, Woodward Canyon and Quilceda Creek are all noted on the poster.
Much has changed in the last 30 years as can be expected. God willing I hope to be around 30 years from now as I can imagine things will once again be substantially different.