Columbia Crest Winery
Columbia Crest is one of the largest wineries in the United States, and the largest in the Northwestern United States. Columbia Crest is located in a beautiful Chateau in Woodinville, Washington, built by the winery in 1982. By 1983, Columbia Crest had invested $26 million in the Washington winery, a sum that has been returned many times over as the winery was immediately successful, and continues to be one of the most successful wineries in the world.
By 1990, noted wine critic Robert Parker had named Columbia Crest one of the 24 "best value wineries". So many awards and kudos have been awarded that we literally don't have room to list them all here.In 1992, Columbia Crest began viticultural and enological research on microclimates and irrigation that continues today.
Columbia Crest has pioneered vineyard and winery research in the Northwest. In March, 1999, Columbia Crest released the results of their six year study on irrigation in the Northwest. In 1999, Columbia Crest added a new, $7 million red wine fermentation facility to its winery. The expansion introduced to Columbia Crest rotary fermenters, a high-tech heating and cooling system that can be monitored and adjusted from a remote location, and fermentation, storage and blending tanks in varying sizes. The expansion will help winemaker Doug Gore to create even more fine, handcrafted wines.
As extraordinary as they are, the winegrowing conditions in the Columbia Valley cant produce wine on their own. Thats where Columbia Crests winegrowers and winemakers come in, led by Doug Gore.
A California native, Doug has been making wine in
Washington State since 1982 and making headlines for almost as long. His
Columbia Crest Merlots caught the wine worlds attention more than
a decade ago, and he continues to innovate with Columbia Crests
Semillon, Semillon-Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot-Cabernet
Though Dougs work has helped Columbia Crest win many awards, he urges visitors to the winery to decide for themselves which wines they like best. "Awards and high ratings are fun to get," he says, "but you cant drink them. The best wine in the world is the one that tastes best to you."
One of Doug Gores long-term projects at Columbia Crest has been to create what he calls "wineries within the winery," so that different wines can be made in different ways, depending on the varietal, the vintage, and the vineyards. "We even assign people to those specific areas," he says, "so that they have an opportunity to become expert with the processes theyre using. This also creates a special feeling about what theyre doing. The areas that people work in really do become wineries within the winery." The specific artisan techniques Doug applies to different Columbia Crest wines are key components in their ultimate designation as Columbia Valley, Grand Estates, or Reserve wines.
Of course, he is intimately acquainted with his wine grapes long before they arrive in the winery. "It all starts in the fields," he says, "and were blessed to have so many of our vineyards right around the winery so I can be close to the vines." After the harvest, he keeps in mind how each lot of winegrapes was farmed. "We have a tremendous amount of sophisticated winemaking technology at our disposal at Columbia Crest," he explains. "My job is to make sure its put to the best use, so that theres as much Mother Nature in the wine as modern science."
Doug is aware that his winemaking team is helping to build one of Americas most popular and fastest-growing wineries. Yet he remains modest, easy-going, and quick to give credit to others. "I work at a dream job with a great team of talented people," he says. "Every day we get a chance to put our education and training to work to create something people can enjoy, all across the country. Sure, we work hard, but a lot of the time it doesnt feel like work. Excitement would be a much better word."
Call us at
Cole Danehower on
This is the best guide, bar none, to Oregon's wines. Insightful articles, interesting reviews, in depth interviews- you'll find them all here. Worth every penny if you're interested in Oregon wine.