Fast Horse And Washington Wine: The New Frontier

April 10, 2014

Fast Horse has some fantastic new biz, and that biz is wine. The Washington Wine Commission has asked us to help them break into the Twin Cities, and we couldn’t be more excited.

The Twin Cities is a fun and challenging market for food and beverage companies. There are countless bars, restaurants, liquor stores and experiences, each with their own identity.

2008WWC Logo crop2
Add the fact that Minnesotans tend to be creatures of habit, and we’ve got quite a challenge. When Minnesotans like something, we like it hard — honestly, throw a rock in any direction and it will probably hit a new brewpub. And don’t even get me started on men and their beards. It’s like November never ended.

But wine! We’re ready to take on this challenge. We’re going to help remove the average consumer’s hesitation from what can seem like a vast and intimidating wine aisle. The great thing about Washington wines is their approachability, but they’re also among the top-ranked wines in the country. All of the vineyards I saw have amazing stories behind them, and making wine is truly a labor of love for these owners and winemakers. The history, techniques and varieties coming out of Washington rival everything from well-known California standards to the classic wines of France.

Still need some convincing?  Here’s a snapshot of what you need to know about Washington wines to get you started:

Geography: Washington state sits at the same latitude as the great wine regions of Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Bordeaux in France. Combine that with the unique terrain the Pacific Northwest is known for, and you have a fantastic region to grow wine. Thanks to the massive Missoula Floods thousands of years ago, Washington contains several different American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. The wine coming from each area is unique, and so are the vineyards that make it.

WA Wine- Red Mtn 2

Tasting — Red Mountain:
Red wines are king in the great desert of Washington. It’s the warmest growing area in the region and gets an average annual rainfall of only 6 to 8 inches. Eastern Washington wineries are known for their full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignons, and my personal favorites, merlots and syrahs. The area is off the beaten path, but the people and families who run these vineyards are globally recognized.

WA Wine- Red Mtn

Tasting — Walla Walla:
 The Missoula Floods deposited layers of basalt along with freewater cobblestones that make this southeastern Washington region quite diverse. Although they’re known for reds, don’t overlook the rieslings.  And yes, grapes are being grown from cobblestones! Walla Walla itself is a small and sweet town. It now has the highest concentration of wineries in Washington, with winemakers finding their way there to explore their love of great wine.

Seven Hills Reds
There are several other growing regions that make up the eastern part of the state, including Yakima and Columbia Valley, Columbia Gorge, Horse Heaven Hills and more. Each boasts varying climates, terrains and soils — the ingredients for great and unique wine. There’s so much more to learn about Washington and their wine, so I hope I’ve given you some food wine for thought when buying your next bottle. At the very least, order a glass from the wine side of the menu the next time you’re at a brewpub and restaurant. Salut!