Columbia Winery
Part 3, Washington State: visiting one of North America's leading wine growing regions

Columbia Winery was first started in 1962 by a group of 10 friends (6 of whom were Washington State University Professors, led by the dean of the psychology department, Dr Lloyd Woodburn. Indeed, the winery began in his garage. Originally called the Associated Vintners, it moved three times before settling in the building in Woodinville that we visited, in 1988. This was the winery until production moved to the Columbia Valley in 1998.


In 1963 Associated Vintners planted the first vines at Harrison Vineyard, and a big step was taken in 1979 when they hired David Lake, the first MW in north America. They were the first to do vineyard designate wines in the state in 1981, and in 1983 changed their name to Columbia Winery. In 1988 David's first release of Syrah was the first Washington State Syrah.


Columbia Winery is now owned by Gallo. Production has risen from 100 000 cases in 2012 to 400 000 cases today. Sean Hails has been winemaker since 2012. Originally from Canada, he moved to Gallo to work in the Central Coast of California before relocating to Washington State.  



Columbia Winery Riesling 2013 Columbia Valley
Sweetly aromatic with ripe, textured citrus fruit and some pear and spice notes. Generous, broad and appealing. 88/100

Columbia Winery Viognier 2013 Columbia Valley
Highly aromatic pear and peach fruit with fresh apricot and spice notes. There's a bit of Riesling and Gewurztraminer in the blend. Appealing. 89/100

Columbia Winery Chardonnay 2013 Columbia Valley
Sweetly aromatic nose with rounded pear and fig fruit, as well as some grapey notes. Rounded, sweet palate with nice weight. 87/100

Columbia Winery Merlot 2013 Columbia Valley
Has a bit of Syrah in the blend. Sweet, ripe, berryish nose is aromatic and fruity with a hint of herbiness. Midweight and juicy on the palate with a touch of herbiness. Direct. 88/100

Columbia Winery Composition Red Blend NV Columbia Valley
2011 and 2012. Rounded, plump and juicy with a bit of spiciness. Nice and easy with berry fruits to the fore and nice smoothness. 87/100

Columbia Winery Element 2012 Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley
70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet, vivid black cherry and blackberry fruit with some spicy, tarry notes adding savoury bite. Some grip and nice tannic structure. Savoury, drying finish. 88/100

Columbia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Columbia Valley
10% Syrah in the blend. Sweet, slightly jammy blackcurrant fruit nose. Supple, ripe palate with a slightly jammy blackcurrant fruit nose. Easy style. 85/100

Columbia Winery
De Lille
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Savage Grace
Chateau Ste Michelle
Andrew Will
Airfield Estates
Milbrandt Vineyards
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
Col Solare
Powers/Badger Mountain
J Bookwalter
Pacific Rim
Gordon Estate
Long Shadows
Seven Hills
Charles Smith
Geology with Kevin Pogue
Woodward Canyon
Gramercy Cellars
L'Ecole No 41
Columbia Crest
Memaloose/Idiot's Grace
COR Cellars

Wines tasted 06/15  
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