Washington finally making pinot to be proud of
on 04/10/10 at 8:20 pmWine
OVER THE years the occasional bottle of Washington-grown pinot noir has surfaced. Linc and Joan Wolverton had some early success at their Salishan winery and vineyard, planted in 1971 just outside La Center (which might more aptly be named La Middle of Nowhere) in southwest Washington.
At the same time, on the other side of the Cascades, in the Columbia Gorge, Charles Henderson (at Mont Elise winery) was also planting pinot noir, as were Margaret and Dr. William McAndrew, at Celilo. These early pioneers were perhaps inspired by the words of chronicler Leon Adams. Adams authored “The Wines of America,” which first appeared around that time. Though Washington and Oregon get few pages in the book, the timing of Adams’ research was spot on. He was an eyewitness to the birth of the modern era of wine-grape growing and wine production in both states.
“In 1966,” he writes, “I visited the Yakima Valley and saw several vineyards of such pedigreed varieties as cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. I was amazed to find the wineries were wasting these costly grapes, mixing them with concord in nondescript port and burgundy blends.”