The SOMM Journal

December 2017 / January 2018

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Page 84 of 124

84 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2017/2018 What have the folks at Chateau Ste. Michelle learned about grape growing and winemaking during the 50 years they've been in business? Everything. That's because when they started, nobody knew very much about either topic in Eastern Washington—or, as Washingtonians call the part of their state east of the Cascades, "the dry side." Pioneering work by Dr. Walter Clore, dubbed "the father of Washington wine" by the state Legislature, proved that Eastern Washington's volcanic soils and dry climate were hospitable to wine grape growing, and the industry soon gained a toehold. In 1967, the American Wine Growers— predominately making fruit and berry wines at the time—brought on the legend - ary André Tchelistcheff as a consultant. He recommended planting 400 acres of Vitis vinifera vines of mainly Bordeaux variet - ies; this doubled the acreage of fine wine grapes in the state. These first wines were released to favorable reviews in 1970 under the Ste. Michelle label, and in 1972, a group of investors bought the American Wine Growers and changed its name to Ste. Michelle Vintners. Since then, the ascendance of Washington wines in both quantity and quality has been explosive. Today, Washington State is second The Evolution of WASHINGTON WINES by Jeff Cox

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