2013 was a year of some tectonic changes in Washington. Perhaps the most significant of these was the arrival of two Napa Valley wineries in the state, Duckhorn and Cakebread. Both will be launching Washington-based brands, called Canvasback and Mullan Road respectively. Notably, Duckhorn also recently purchased a 20-acre vineyard on Red Mountain, indicating that they are here to stay. The influx of California wineries – something that had already begun last year with the arrival of Gallo and Trinchero – only looks to continue in the coming years.
The purchase by Canadian-based Aquilini Properties of 670-acres of land on Red Mountain also bears close watching. While not all of this land is arable, if it were, it would amount to more than half of the currently planted acreage on this tiny appellation, Washington’s smallest at 4,040 total acres. What the Acquilinis do with this property will have a major impact on Red Mountain’s future.
Washington continued to show strong growth in 2013, bonding its 800th winery and harvesting a record grape crop expected to be in excess of 200,000 tons. 2013’s harvest was very much a tale of two harvests, with warm weather throughout the growing season followed by a mid-September cool down and below average temperatures (read a full series of harvest reports here). 2013 also saw the Yakima Valley celebrate its 30th anniversary (Note: opens .pdf),with Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley poised to do the same in 2014.
Finally, on a more somber note, this year also saw the passing of several Washington wine champions, including Mike Dunham of Dunham Cellars and Ken Lewis of Lewis Vineyard. It also saw several wineries, such as Piety Flats, close their doors.
Read a complete look at 2013’s Washington wine trends and what to expect in 2014 in my article in Washington Tasting Room Magazine. You can read this article on-line here.
That’s all from me for 2013. As always, I want to thank everyone for reading this year. I am sincerely grateful. I’ll be taking a short vacation the first two weeks of 2014. Look for regular postings to resume in mid-January. Happy New Year everyone!