Washington wine regions produce more wine grapes than any other state in the U.S., except California.
Washington wineries benefit from grapes ripening with about two more hours of summer sunlight each day than in California wine regions. Gradually cooling Autumn temperatures throughout Washington help wine grapes reach full maturity, while maintaining desirable acid levels.
98% of the state's wine grapes are grown on the east side of the Cascades as the arid climate and conditions of eastern Washington permit grapes to fully ripen, while developing complex fruit flavors and aromatics. More than 90% of the state's wine grapes are grown within the enormous Columbia Valley in eastern Washington, and a large percent of its vineyards are located in the Yakima Valley and Red Mountain areas.
A few Washington wineries grow vineyards on the cooler, western side of the Cascades where wine grape varieties grown in the Puget Sound area include Pinot noir, Madeleine Angevine, Müller Thurgau, Siegerrebe, Chasselas and Island Belle.
Wine grapes are now the fourth most important fruit crop in Washington State behind apples, cherries and pears.