The Slow Wine Guide USA 2022 is now available. This edition includes twelve Washington wineries. That’s nine more than the 2021 edition. Better still, two are recognized with Slow Wine’s top honors. Read on for some insights about the Washington wineries that attained Slow Wine awards.
Of the 36 wines published in the Washington chapter for this edition of the Guide, nine are named Top Wines. Of the wines sampled, these represent the finest bottles from a sensory point of view. From cool climate Madeleine Angevine to the state’s first commercial plantings of Sagrantino, the varieties represented showcase the diversity of grapes that can successfully grow in Washington. Combined with styles ranging from carbonic maceration to well-made pet nats, the wines in this publication exhibit the exciting range of winemaking in the state.
Top Slow Wine Awards
For the first time, two of Washington’s wineries attained Slow Wine’s highest honor. Both Bionic Wines and Bainbridge Vineyards achieved this special recognition, the symbolic Snail Award. The Snail is reserved for wineries whose values align with the Slow Food movement entailing high quality wines, originality, and respect for the land and environment. Interestingly, each of these wineries incorporates the old-world practice of farming the land with draft horses.
The bottlings of Bionic Wines, prized for their expression of the terroir, come from rock-strewn land farmed without chemicals utilizing biodynamic practices. Impressively, no vine goes untouched. Plus, a team of horses tends vineyards, animals roam the grounds, and there is an employee garden.
Bainbridge Vineyards incorporates a ‘whole systems’ approach that honors its land and its people. This Puget Sound pioneer creates wines with grapes from 100% estate grown certified organic vines. Draft horses work the land. Additionally, vintner Betsey Whittick cultivates future farmers through an internship program. The winery obtained organic certification in 2014 and earned status as a Certified B Corporation in 2018. Moreover, the property is a Certified Wildlife Sanctuary full of biodiversity.
About the Slow Wine Guide USA
As explained on the Slow Food site:
“Slow Wine Guide USA is the nation’s only eco-curated guide to the wines of California, New York, Oregon and Washington. Thanks to the team of 15+ expert wine writers, it selects eco-friendly wineries, reviews only wines that are farmed without synthetic herbicides, and is updated annually. Special categories help readers quickly find everyday wines, Top wines or Slow Wines (which are wines that honor heritage practices) and wineries awarded with Snail, coin and bottle accolades.”
The pages of the Guide share the story behind each qualifying vineyard, the people connected to it, and showcases three wines from each maker. It’s a months long process traversing from winery to winery to interview winemakers and business partners, visit vineyards, and taste the wines. The end result features 275 wineries across California, New York, Oregon and Washington.
The opportunity to share other peoples’ stories is not something I take lightly. Putting into words not just flavors, but the emotions that spill over into the wines is not a straightforward task. The entire project is much like following the lifecycle of a grape from bud break to bottling. The publication of the book subsequently evokes the excitement of opening the first botte of wine from a particular vintage.
If you want to celebrate eco-friendly wines and their makers, order your own copy of the Slow Wine Guide USA 2022 today! For wine consumers it’s an invaluable resource to help make more conscious decisions. In fact, I used the 2021 edition of the Guide to plan a trip to the Willamette Valley last year.
Each copy is $25 and purchases made directly from the Slow Food USA Bookshop help support Slow Wine.
For more background read my post, “Let’s Talk About Slow Wine.”
As always, much gratitude to those who allowed me to tell their stories. A world of thanks to U.S. National Editor and esteemed wine educator, Deborah Parker Wong, Slow Wine Editor in Chief Giancarlo Gariglio, as well as to kindhearted writer, L.M. Archer.
The founder of VinoSocial.wine, Nancy coaches wineries and wine regions on social media practices and also provides marketing services. A graduate of the Northwest Wine Academy and a Certified Specialist of Wine, she works with wineries, wine regions, event producers, and wine competitions. Nancy also writes for the Slow Wine Guide USA and Washington Tasting Room Magazine. She serves as Vice President of Seattle Urban Wineries.