Course: Understanding Wine

Class 8: Discovering the New World

united states: washington

Unless they've visited Washington and Oregon, many people assume that the two states are quite similar. Both are in the northwest corner of the U.S. and are important grapegrowers and wine producers.

It is true that Washington and Oregon planted their first wine grapes in the first half of the 1800s, but their paths have diverged dramatically since the early 1900s.

Two major factors distinguish Washington: climate and latitude.

Climate: In addition to having cool coastal vineyards in Puget Sound like those found in Oregon, Washington also has warmer and drier continental vineyards. The result is that Washington can focus on bigger reds -- such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah -- for which the state...

Ready to enroll? First, you must register for a membership to Your membership benefits include:

FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School

Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes

FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are

E-newsletters with advance ratings

Editors’ blogs

Food and wine matching tool

And much more

Log In If You're Already a Member

Please log in using your email address and password for Wine Spectator School students who enrolled before 7.4.10, log in with your email address and school password or get more info here.

Forgot Password?

By clicking "Log in" you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Wine Spectator Online

Read our FAQ for more information

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences