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What Is This Site?

Northwest Wine Countries

Wine countries of the Pacific Northwest
(AVAs, or appellations).
Map by Allan Cartography.
Copyright © 2010 by Cole Danehower.

This space is about Northwest wine. That’s it. Not the rest of the wine world, just this piece of it: Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Idaho. Check the map: this is my wine home and the raison d’être of this site.

Do I like and drink and savor other wines besides those from here? Sure, of course, ya you betcha. I just don’t write about them. That’s for every other wine writer/blogger to do. You see, I don’t get to the Languedoc very often, it’s been awhile since I last visited Piedmont, Alsace is not a hop, skip, and jump away for me, and I’ve never been to the Nahe. So I’m not going to try and compete with those lucky world-wise wine writers who can easily traipse around the vinous meccas of the globe. Me? I’ll stick to what I know best.

They always say to young writers: write what you know. I’m not so young as I once was, but what I know about is North America’s second largest wine region. What I know is the pinot noir of the Willamette Valley, the tempranillo of Southern Oregon, the syrahs of Walla Walla Valley, the rieslings of the Snake River Valley, the cabernets and merlots of Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, and the Wahluke Slope, the variety of vinifera from Lake Chelan, the boisterous reds of the South Okanagan and the tight, minerally, high-acid rieslings of the north Okanagan.

What I know is the Pacific Northwest. If you want to know about grenache in Roussillon go somewhere else. If you want to know about grenache in Oregon or Washington, I’m your guy.

LUV the NorthWestLUVIN License PlateThe goal here is to share. I love the Northwest (hell, the license plate on my wife’s car reads LUV NW) and I love wine (my Oregon Wine Country license plate is LUVIN) and I’ve had the very grand fortune to be able to thoroughly travel the region’s wine routes and get to know its vignerons. I want to share what I’ve learned—what I am continually learning—about this region so that others can learn to love it as well.

But it’s not all about love. I’ve been accused of being too positive in my wine writing by no less a personage than Eric Asimov of the New York Times. Just because it is a Northwest wine doesn’t make it ipso facto good. There’s still a lot of—let’s just say, not-as-good-as-they-could-be Northwest wines out there. With over 1500 wineries not all of them are going to make stellar stuff. Sure, I’m going to emphasize the best—the essential—wines, but I’m not going to gloss over the crap, either.

There you have it. This site is about Northwest wines, it strives to share knowledge, and I hope it will be as much fun for you to explore as it is for me to create.

—Cole