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Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Zin is California’s grape, that’s for certain.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

A darling among wine consumers, this rich, fruity white wine is made by a handful of Northwest wineries and is gaining popularity with every vintage.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

If you love Spanish Rioja, then you already know about Tempranillo. This red grape is Spain’s answer to Cabernet Sauvignon. It produces wines of great character and caliber.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Pronounced "sur-AHH," this red wine grape is a popular choice among aficionados as more Washington wineries are crafting the wine.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

This white grape is best known in its native Germany, where it produces wines of great character. This grape has little trouble ripening and, in fact, produces as much sugar as just about any European wine grape variety.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

A white Bordeaux variety, Washington Semillon may be as great as any in the world.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

One of the noble white grapes of France's Bordeaux region, Sauvignon Blanc is gaining fans globaly as a food-friendly alternative to Chardonnay. The grape is grown with great success in California's Napa Valley as well as New Zealand.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

It may be difficult to pronounce, but Sangiovese is easy to enjoy. Pronounced "san-jo-VAY-say," this grape is famous in Italy for producing Chianti, named after a region in Tuscany.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

This German variety was Washington’s first star, and today Riesling still is one of the state's favorite wines.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Port is so named because it is most famous in the Oporto area of Portugal. It’s a fortified wine, meaning brandy or some other spirit is added during fermentation. The high-octane alcohol kills the yeast and results in a sweet, high-alcohol wine.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

The noble red grape of France’s Burgundy region also is Oregon’s most important variety. The cool Willamette Valley seems to be a great region for growing the grape.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Pinot Gris (pronounced "PEE-no gree") is Oregon's second-most-popular grape after Pinot Noir. It may well be the ultimate food wine, thanks to its fresh fruit flavors, versatility, bright acidity and youthful approachability.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

This lesser-known sibling of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris is a delicate and often-overlooked white grape that can produce delicious wines.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

The noble variety of northwestern Italy’s Piedmont region, Nebbiolo is the grape that makes Barolo and Barbaresco some of the world’s greatest reds. The wine’s soft red colors belie its high, often-harsh tannins that can take years to settle down.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

A number of grape varieties fall into the Muscat family, the most famous of which are Muscat Canelli, Muscat of Alexandria, Orange Muscat, Early Muscat and Black Muscat.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

This white grape is a crossing of Riesling and Silvaner and so named because a Dr. Muller from the Swiss town of Thurgau was the man who came up with the variety in the late 1880s at Geisenheim in Germany.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Perhaps Washington’s most famous wine is Merlot, a red wine that can be smooth and fruity or bold and rich with complex flavors.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

This hybrid red grape variety is named after a French World War I hero and is legendary for its high tonnage and ability to withstand the worst winter conditions.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

With Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot, Malbec is one of three primary blending grapes in red Bordeaux, typically playing second fiddle to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. By itself, Malbec makes a simpler, softer version of Merlot, though a few areas, especially Argentina, are specializing in Malbec.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Known in its native Austria as Blaufrankisch, Lemberger is a red grape grown in just a few areas of the Northwest, primarily Washington’s Yakima Valley, with just a little in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Late harvest wines are from grapes left on the vines past traditional harvest times so more sugar can develop. The resulting wines are sweeter and can be quite delicious.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

A speciality of regions that get really cold after harvest, ice wines are fabulous ultra-sweet dessert wines. The most famous regions for ice wine are Germany, Austria and Canada, and British Columbia makes some of the world’s best.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

An increasingly important red grape in Spain and southern France, Grenache (also known as Garnacha) plays a minor role at best in the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Don't be dismayed by its tongue-twisting name or you’ll miss out on one of the most aromatic wines you’re likely to find.

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Rarely taken seriously, Gamay Noir is the main variety of France’s Beaujolais region. It produces a bright, tasty, drink-now wine.