Last fall, the Mrs. and I spent some time in the state of Washington. It was for the purpose of seeing and hearing Al Stewart perform his iconic album, “Year of the Cat,” from start to finish, backed by a wonderful band from Chicago, The Empty Pockets.
But before the show, we spent the day visiting wineries in the area.
Just this past weekend, we returned from a trip to Oregon. It was for the purpose of seeing the fabulous band that played at our wedding, Incendio, provide the soundtrack for a University of Oregon ballet performance of “Zorro.”
The next day, we visited three wineries in the area.
Whenever we travel for music, we try to include some wine in the mix. Whenever we travel for wine, we try to include some music in the mix. Wine and music are two of our passions.
And Washington and Oregon are two of our favorite wine states because of the diversity of outstanding wines they produce.
According to the Washington State Wine trade group, Washington ranks second nationally for premium wine production, and more then 50,000 acres are planted to vinifera grapes. More than 40% of these vines have been planted in the last 10 years as the industry rapidly expands.
Oregon, likewise, is a world-class wine region with more than 700 wineries and more than 1,000 vineyards growing 72 grape varieties.
It’s that last statistic that is so appealing to us — the large number of varieties that are planted. Lots of people think of Oregon as a one-variety state (that variety being Pinot Noir), but nothing could be further from the truth.
Every time we go to a Washington or Oregon we encounter something surprising, whether it’s an unexpected varietal bottling or a magnificent blend of multiple varieties. Last week, we even met one Oregon vintner who makes wine exclusively from grapes grown in Washington.
How could you not fall in love with two states so diverse in their wine?