The Maturation of Washington Wines

Sixteen years ago, wine critic Paul Gregutt published "Washington Wines and Wineries: the Essential Guide" as an attempt to put a bow on a quarter century of tasting and writing about Washington wines. He has recently republished some of the interesting material worth reflecting on from today's vantage point, including an interview with Long Shadows founder Allen Shoup.

"I believe we have only climbed to about 10 percent of our eventual knowledge and understanding of the Columbia Valley viticultural region....But this is as much good news as bad news, for we are already making wines that compete with some of the finest wines in the world. Not a lot yet, but still more than one would expect given our youth. To come this far so soon with only 10 percent of the knowledge available begs the question ‘How high is up?’ Washington’s future with the proper commitment to excellence could be very bright indeed."

— Allen Shoup

One of Gregutt's main themes at the time was the near-unanimous criticism of the state's wines from writers outside of the region. He interviewed ten leading winemakers and industry executives and asked them to share thoughts on the strengths, weaknesses and challenges facing the Washington wine industry in the years ahead.

Allen Shoup, who had recently founded Long Shadows Vintners, was among the respondents. His interesting insights from the interview, as well as reviews of our current vintages, can be found here on

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