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Walla Walla Valley Wineries and Vineyards Dominate Northwest Syrah Judging

In a just completed blind tasting by eight panelists of northwest Syrahs conducted by the Wine Press Northwest, 12 of 17 Outstanding (or Gold medal equivalent) Syrahs were either produced by Walla Walla wineries or utilized fruit from Walla Walla vineyards. The 10 Walla Walla wineries receiving the much cherished Outstanding rating were:
  • Dusted Valley Vintners (3)
  • Saviah Cellars (2)
  • Adamant Cellars
  • L’Ecole No. 41
  • Otis Kenyon Wines
  • Va Piano Vineyards
  • Zerba Cellars
In addition, two wineries received Outstanding ratings utilizing Walla Walla grapes, including Dumas Station which is located in nearby Dayton. Dumas Station also tied for the top Syrah in this year’s judging. In total, 58 wines also earned an Excellent rating (or Silver medal equivalent). Of these, 20 were from Walla Walla wineries and 12 used Walla Walla Valley fruit. Complete results of the judging will appear in the Spring issue of Wine Press Northwest magazine, which comes out around March 15, or at www.winepressnw.com.

According to Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, “we are proud of the Valley’s winery’s and vineyard’s accomplishments. This clearly shows that Walla Walla is now being recognized as one of the premier wine producing regions for a diversity of grape and wine varieties. For the past 25 years, Walla Walla has been recognized as a premier region for producing Bordeaux varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. More recently, Walla Walla has also become known for producing other wines, most notably Syrah. We have come to realize that one of our strengths is our diversity.”

The Wine Press Northwest, a regional publication focused on wine industry news in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, periodically conducts tastings and judgings of Pacific Northwest wines. Past Syrah judgings were held in 1999, 2003, and 2006. The 2012 judging consisted of 147 Syrahs. According to Andy Perdue, editor of the Wine Press Northwest, “this year’s results showed both a significant increase in the number of wines entered from the Walla Walla Valley and the growth in quality that comes from the Valley. Dusted Valley Vintners, in particular, showed a consistent high level of quality in 2012 which follows up on their showing in 2006 when they received two Outstanding ratings. They continue to assert themselves as one of the finest Syrah producers in the Pacific Northwest.”