Sunday, July 1, 2012

Washington Wines Perform With Balance

Steve Warner, Ex. Director of the Washington Wine Commission
Speaks to the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce
Living here in Eastern Washington and Oregon has its perks. We’re small enough that we don’t have a lot of the big city issues, but large enough that if we want to make a trip to Jack in the Box at 2 a.m. we can get a Sourdough Jack. We are even lucky enough to be right near vineyards, and even have the chance to know and hang with world class winemakers every day. Because of that, we tend to drink a lot of our local wines. Which is a good thing.

This week I had the chance to meet with and hear a presentation by Steve Warner, the Executive Director of the Washington Wine Commission. He brought up some interesting points that I thought were worth telling you about.

The Washington Wine Commission is built out of all of the Washington State Wineries, both large and small. It is funded through an excise on each gallon of wine produced in the state, or juice produced by vineyards here. The fee is extremely small, but the benefits are great. The commission works very hard to promote Washington Wines as a whole, and create good will between different winemakers in today’s highly competitive market.

A few take-aways that I had from Mr. Warner’s presentation left me pondering the growing future of wine in this region. I wanted to share with you my thoughts and opinions on these take outs.

Part of the commission’s work is looking at the buying atmosphere for the wine industry in this region. As part of focus research they developed a word cloud of various inputs from people concerning Washington Wine. The two most used words were Balance and Value.

I understood the term value, although they apparently haven’t had a bottle of Col Solare lately. The term that puzzled me though was Balance. Is it the balance between fruit, acid, and tannin that I talk about frequently in this article? Is it the balance between cost and value? Is it the way that the cellar rats have to balance the barrels when racking? What does that term mean?

I caught Mr. Warner after the presentation and asked him about this term. He said that the term was pretty unqualified in the studies, and it could mean all these things and more. This made me think this is a question that I need to ask you. I would appreciate it if people would respond on my email or blog as to what you think this term means.

Another huge takeaway from the presentation was something that I’ve heard before. That is that the U.S. is now by far the largest consumer of wine in the world. The downside is that the residents of this region only drink about 3 liters of wine each year per capita, versus the 10 liters of wine per year consumed by the residents of Europe.

My thought is that I’m doing my part to bring the per capita up. I think most of my faithful readers are doing the same. So, the question is, who are the deadbeats out there not doing their part? Come on residents of Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon! Drink more wine. And, while you’re drinking more wine make sure it’s local to this region. I’m expecting you all to go out to your nearest winery today, buy a case of wine and drink it as soon as possible!


1 comment:

  1. Hey Rich
    Interesting take on the term "balance". As a huge fan of Washington and Oregon wines, I still feel we are more asymmetrically balanced than symmetrically balanced. There is still work that needs to be done. We do have the perfect climate in eastern Washington to produce world class wines, but as a young industry, we have much to learn. Education and lots of drinking is my suggestion!! And don't forget to visit your local wine shops who also support the local wineries.


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