While sweet Riesling and Merlot were once the foundation of Washington’s wine, you can tell, just by cruising the wood racks of The Wine Alley shop in Renton, that this is a whole new scene.
Our state’s offerings were already intriguing when Allison Helfen ’89 and her husband Scott started the shop nine years ago. “When we first opened, the hot thing was viognier. And Syrahs were everywhere,” says Allison Helfen. Today the shelves are even more diverse. “They have to be. People get bored,” she says. That’s why her stock has shifted to include inky Malbecs, sprightly Sangioveses, and rich Barberas.
About three years ago, Monte Regier returned to Seattle from a year working on the hospital ship Anastasis off the coast of Liberia. Suffering from culture shock, remembering friends who go to bed hungry every night, he sat with his friend Martin Barrett over a glass of wine and mused on what a dollar would buy.
And then came the Idea.
“You know, Monte,” said Barrett, “I think this glass of wine could feed a kid for a day.”
One can imagine Regier’s skeptical smile.
“Give me 90 days,” said Barrett.
So Barrett started researching this idea of selling wine to feed kids and convinced … » More …
Drew Bledsoe may be best remembered by Washington State fans for what he accomplished on a snowy day in November 1992.
And while visions of Bledsoe, receiver Phillip Bobo, and a snow bank are foremost in their memories, these days, Bledsoe wants Cougar fans to know him not only for great plays but for making great wine.
“It is very important for me that people know that this is a true passion of mine,” he says. “We are very committed to producing only the best wine that we can.”
On a sweltering July day in Walla Walla, Bledsoe’s passion is on display.
From the biggest winery in the state to the smallest boutique producer, Washington State University alumni are making wine and growing grapes in every one of Washington’s appellations. Here’s the list of the wineries with WSU connections that we’ve been able to find, but we’re sure there are more out there.
The prose is deliberate, straightforward, and academically understated: “If hardier varieties free of diseases are used and the best cultural practices known to obtain full vine maturity are followed, it is feasible to grow European grapes in favorable sites in south central Washington.”
Those words from Bulletin 823 by Chas Nagel, George Carter, and Walt Clore, exciting as they were in 1976, still could only suggest the potential of Washington’s barely nascent wine industry. By convincing Washington farmers that they could grow vinifera grapes, the source of fine wine, Clore, who died this past January at 91, empowered Washington to join the ranks of the … » More …
The setting is elegant, the food divine, the wine fine and endless and magnificently diverse. On a Sunday evening in June, the Grand Pennington Ballroom at Spokane’s Davenport Hotel is filled with representatives of more than 60 Washington wineries and 20 area restaurants, caterers, and markets-and hundreds of Washington wine devotees.
Taste Washington has paired samplings of Washington food and wine, much to the gathering’s enjoyment. In the process, the celebrants are supporting Washington State University’s fledgling Viticulture and Enology Program and the School of Hospitality Business Management, as well as the Davenport District Arts Board.
A celebratory note also resonates among the participants who … » More …
Wine-By-Cougars, the precocious young wine club sponsored by the Washington State University Alumni Association, is adding art to its viticultural appeal. The wine club will offer a special “Artist Expression 2007,” a union of student art and alumni winemaking.
The wine club approached the digital design class taught in Fine Arts and asked students to design a wine label for a special spring release from Woodward Canyon, owned and operated by Rick Small ’69. Design students were instructed to reflect viticulture and the land-grant ideal on their labels. The label chosen is by Annette Ticknor ’07, a communication major and fine art student. (Full disclosure: … » More …
Arthur Linton, center, assistant dean and director of Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) in Prosser, and Julie Tarara, a USDA research horticulturist, explain the effects of temperature on grape yields to Washington secretary of state Sam Reed during his visit in July. The IAREC is home to WSU’s Viticulture and Enology Program. During the past decade, the number of Columbia Valley wineries has doubled, making Washington the second largest wine-growing region in the nation behind California. Reed, who holds two WSU degrees (’63 Social Studies, ’68 M.A. Political Science), traveled to China on a trade mission in September 2001 to … » More …