one more time – which side of the potomac are those grapes from?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It’s been a standard joke among Washington winemakers for years, based on a true story from Bob Betz. While doing a presentation on Washington wines back east, at least 20 years ago, Betz wrapped up his account of the vineyards, the desert climate, the irrigation, the terroir, etc. and asked if there were any questions. A hand shot up. “Yessir, you have a question?” “Just this. Tell me again – on which side of the Potomac are those vineyards planted?”

Well, many chuckles (and decades) later, one would hope that Washington vintners have made it clear that the vineyards are about 3000 miles west of the Potomac. But that simple message has yet to make it across the Atlantic.

Here’s a review of Washington Hills Merlot from the Burnley and Pendle Citizen that appeared in that British newspaper just yesterday:

Washington Hills Merlot 2008, £7.79, Co-op.

“Mention US winemaking to most people and thoughts turn to California. But you don't have to go west to find fine wines – Washington state has some of its own. This Merlot (topped off with a little Syrah and Grenache) is from a winery founded in Columbia Valley 23 years ago but it tastes more Old World than new.

Plenty of fruit, 13.5% and reasonably priced.”

I am SO relieved to learn that I don't have to go west to find fine wines! Living here in eastern Washington, it's been a major concern these past seven years. Go East Young Man! is my new mantra!


Sean P. Sullivan said...

Recently when I mentioned traveling to eastern Washington *my own mother* asked if the flight was very expensive, thinking I had gone to DC. This remains a very real issue for the state and its wines.

Erika Szymanski said...

At least DC isn't producing any wine to speak of. If that was the case and there was "DC" and "Washington" on the market (and the latter was, naturally, better), we'd have an even bigger problem.

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