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Northwest Wines
Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
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August 30  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
With wildfires seemingly affecting every corner of the Pacific Northwest, one of the hardest-hit communities has been those around Washington’s Lake Chelan.A lightning storm the morning of Aug. 14 caused several fires to erupt, destroying thousands of acres of forest, burning dozens of buildings, sending residents fleeing and keeping visitors away during a crucial period in Lake Chelan’s tourist season.

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August 27  |  By Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Wildfire destroys Lake Chelan winery Ventimiglia Cellars
LAKE CHELAN — A wildfire has destroyed one winery and caused many of the region’s winemakers and grape growers to evacuate.Ventimiglia Cellars was destroyed Friday evening after owner Ron Ventimiglia was forced to flee.“I had a few customers in the tasting room when we were told to evacuate,” Ventimiglia told Great Northwest Wine.

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August 23  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Small family winery produces big results in Oregon’s Dundee Hills
High in northern Oregon’s picturesque Dundee Hills is a special vineyard and winery run by a small but high-achieving family.Winter’s Hill Estate was established in 1990, when Peter and Emily Gladhart put their first vines in the ground at the 150-acre family farm, which was established nearly 30 years earlier. They crafted their first wines in 1998, producing just a few hundred cases that vintage.

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August 16  |  By Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Historically early wine grape harvest begins in Washington ZILLAH — Washington's historically early wine grape harvest kicked off early Friday morning when 18 tons of Chardonnay were harvested in the Rattlesnake Hills American Viticultural Area.

The grapes were harvested at Hilltop, a 31-year-old vineyard north of the Yakima Valley community of Buena. It is managed by Patrick Rawn of Two Mountain Winery in Zillah, who sells the grapes to Treveri Cellars in nearby Wapato.

By all accounts, this is the earliest...

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August 14  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
For more than two decades, one of the shining stars of the Washington wine industry has been Matthews Winery.Launched in 1993 by Matthew Loso in Woodinville, the winery has been considered one of the state’s best producers. In 2008, Cliff and Diane Otis took over ownership of the winery, and Loso has moved on to new winemaking projects.

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August 9  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Woodward Canyon remains a top Washington winery
LOWDEN — For nearly 35 years, Woodward Canyon Winery has been one of the top wineries in Washington, and the Walla Walla Valley producer shows no signs of slowing down.

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August 2  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
For Thurston Wolfe, wine is all in the family
Everyone at Thurston Wolfe gets a wine. First is owner/winemaker Wade Wolfe (D.R. Wolfe’s Family Red), followed by wife and co-owner Becky Yeaman (Sweet Rebecca) and their son, Josh, (JTW’s Port).Yeaman’s brother, Michael Yeaman (a geoscientist), is honored with The Geologist red blend. And even their dog, Chance, gets in on the action (Second Chance Rosé).

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July 26  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
While Cabernet Sauvignon is the No. 1 wine grape in Washington, the grape that brought the state to prominence in the past 15 years is Merlot — and it’s still going strong.Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is from France’s Bordeaux region and is one of its most significant grapes.

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July 19  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Second generation takes Oregon’s Elk Cove to new heights
GASTON, Oregon — One of Oregon’s pioneering wine families is now into its second generation and producing some of the state’s finest wines.

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July 12  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Cab is king in Washington’s Columbia Valley
It’s known throughout the world as “King Cab,” and that is so true in Washington.Cabernet Sauvignon is most famous in France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley, but it’s quickly risen to the top in Washington’s Columbia Valley, where the arid days and cool nights allow Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen to perfection.

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July 5  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Chateau Ste. Michelle has new head of white wine
Not too many years ago, David Rosenthal was reading a “Wine for Dummies” book while he and his father were driving from Colorado to California.It was 2001, and Rosenthal — a University of Puget Sound grad — was heading to Napa Valley, where he had picked up a harvest job at Robert Mondavi Winery. Rosenthal, a Colorado native, earned a degree in marine biology, so this gig was just to keep him busy while he figured out what was next for his life.

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June 28  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Walla Walla Valley wines continue to shine WALLA WALLA — Since the 1970s, the Walla Walla Valley has been well known for producing some of the Northwest's finest red wines. Little has changed.

The valley's earliest wineries set the standard for high-quality wines — particularly reds — and that continues today.

In the third annual Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla Vintners took the top prize with its 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Walla Walla Vintners...

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June 21  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Some of the best 2014 Northwest Rosés to tuck in your fridge for summer One of our simple rules of wine enjoyment: Hot weather calls for chilled rosés.

For the past three months, we've seen a number of 2014 rosés being released throughout the Pacific Northwest, and they are proving to be a harbinger of what is to come.

Dry rosés are all the rage in the Northwest right now, and most are priced at $20 or less. They tend to pair beautifully with a wide range of cuisines, from seafood to spicy Asian dishes to...

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June 19  |  By Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Washington man makes best amateur wine in world
KENNEWICK — Washington winemakers have long known that some of the best grapes grow on Red Mountain. Now the amateur winemaking world is finding out, too.Mike Rinker, an engineer who lives in the heart of Washington wine country, made the best amateur wine in the world this year — a Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain grapes.

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June 14  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Inexpensive red wines for summer entertaining
As temperatures begin to rise and we spend more time living outdoors in the Great Northwest, now is the time to begin stocking up on inexpensive red wines.When you’re spending time on the back deck barbecuing with friends and family, you don’t want to think too much about your wines. In particular, you certainly don’t want to worry about what is going to break your budget.

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June 7  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Wineries put a sparkle in Northwest wine The Pacific Northwest sparkling wine scene is in a dynamic state right now, and it's only going to get better and more interesting in the years to come.

At Michelle Sparkling Wines (formerly Domaine Ste. Michelle), longtime bubble master Rick Casqueiro retired this spring and was succeeded by Paula Eakin, who has worked for the company for more than 20 years.

On the south shore of Lake Chelan, Karma Vineyards' focus on sparkling wine is paying off, as it is...

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June 5  |  By Eric Degerman Great Northwest Wine
Yakima Valley winemaker helps Nepal villagers
SUNNYSIDE — Côte Bonneville winemaker Kerry Shiels left Nepal shaken yet full of appreciation after experiencing the deadly April 25 earthquake, and now she’s assisting trekking guides and porters who helped her during a 12-day adventure tour.Even before she left Kathmandu, Shiels, 35, launched a fundraising campaign for one of her Himalayan guides.

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May 31  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Wines from Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills shine Since the early 1970s, wine grapes have been grown in Washington's Horse Heaven Hills. Today, the region south of the Yakima Valley is one of the state's largest and most important viticultural regions.

In 1972, Don Mercer planted Cabernet Sauvignon near the tiny community of Alderdale. Today, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most important variety in the region, with hundreds of new acres being planted each year, but other grape varieties — red and white —...

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May 24  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Malbec is Washington’s new shining star of wine
In the past half-decade, Malbec has become the darling of the Washington wine industry, and for good reason.For centuries, Malbec has played little more than a minor role in its native Bordeaux, but the rich red wine has taken center stage in Argentina, where it now is considered the national wine grape. That same attitude is starting to take shape in Washington, where conditions would seem to turn Malbec into something magical.

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May 17  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Red Mountain’s importance in state wine
It is neither red, nor is it a mountain, but “Brown Ridge” doesn’t sound like much of a grape growing region.Red Mountain is a 4,040-acre bench in Washington’s eastern Yakima Valley, and in the 40 years since the first wine grapes were planted amid sand and sagebrush, Red Mountain has developed into what is arguably the most important region in Washington. It also is the state’s smallest American Viticultural Area.

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May 3  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Maryhill Winery rises to the top in crowded Pacific Northwest
When Maryhill Winery opened 14 years ago, the Washington wine industry was much different.Maryhill was one of the first 125 wineries open in the state when owners Craig and Vicki Leuthold launched their winery near the remote community of Goldendale. Today, there are more than 800.

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April 26  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Special to The Herald
Great whites, pinks from Great NW Wine Competition HOOD RIVER, Ore. — At last month's Great Northwest Wine Competition — the largest judging ever held of wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho — helped highlight some of our region's top white and rosé wines.

The competition, which took place at the Columbia Gorge Hotel, drew 1,204 entries. The top wine was Palencia Wine Co.'s 2014 Vino La Monarcha Pinot Noir Rosé from Washington's Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley. The...

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April 19  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Special to The Herald
Judges find gold amid reds at Great NW Wine Competition
More than 100 red wines earned gold medals at the third annual Great Northwest Wine Competition, which took place in late March at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Oregon.Wine professionals from throughout the Northwest judged the wines under blind conditions (they didn’t know the producer or the price, though they did know the kind of wine they were tasting.)

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April 12  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Special to The Herald
Best wines of 2015 Great Northwest Wine Competition A pink wine made with Washington Pinot Noir earned the nod for best wine of the third annual Great Northwest Wine Competition.

The judging, staged at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Oregon, drew 1,204 entries, making it the largest judging of Pacific Northwest wines ever conducted.

Vino La Monarcha, a label for Palencia Winery in Walla Walla, took the top prize. It was the first time in the competition's three years that a red wine didn't win...

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April 5  |  
New documentary puts spotlight on Idaho wine
Idaho’s burgeoning wine industry got another boost in March with the premiere of documentary called “Idaho Wine: From Bud to Taste Bud.”The film, made by the husband-wife team of Drew and Rhea Allen, showed their film at the Sun Valley Film Festival to positive reviews. They hope to now bring their production on the road to show others across the Pacific Northwest what Idaho wineries have to offer.

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March 29  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Tempranillos rising in popularity across Northwest
As far as history goes, the Pacific Northwest has little in the way of growing Tempranillo, the noble red grape of Spain’s Rioja region. But our region’s grape growers and winemakers are quick learners.

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March 22  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Special to The Herald
Winemaking couple produce same wine from same vineyard
It isn’t difficult to find multiple wineries making wines from the same vineyard. However, it is rare indeed for two winemakers who are married and producing wine for competing companies to make the same wine from one exclusive vineyard.

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March 15  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Seven Hills Winery finding success across the border For more than a decade, Casey and Vicky McClellan had the only winery on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley.

But being in Milton-Freewater was a bit of a no-man's land. Seven Hills Winery was not a Washington winery, so it couldn't easily be involved in Washington wine events. And it was more than 200 miles away from Portland and the Willamette Valley and, thus, was virtually ignored by the Oregon wine industry.

So in May 2000, the McClellans relocated...

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March 8  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Why whites are often less expensive than reds
White wines are generally less expensive that reds for a few reasons.First of all, the grapes tend to be less expensive to grow than red varieties, and depending on the variety (such as Riesling and Pinot Gris in Washington), the plant can carry a higher crop than reds — often twice as much.

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