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Wine Spectator School

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...

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