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Randall Grahm to produce Riesling in Washington

Bonny Doon producer Randall Grahm has begun building an all-Riesling winery in Washington State.

In what is considered a major breakthrough for Riesling in Chardonnay-minded America, Grahm’s Pacific Rim Wine Company started construction last week in West Richland in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington.

Grahm says he hopes to have the winery ready for the 2007 harvest. Grapes will be bought in from producers in the region.

The winery will produce 300,000 cases.

About 100,000 cases of Grahm’s US$12 Pacific Rim Riesling have already been blended and bottled in California with wine made from Washington grapes.

For years, Grahm and Johannes Selbach of Weingut Selbach-Oster in the Mosel have displayed their Rieslings together. Pacific Rim Riesling has contained about 25% Selbach Riesling to reduce alcohol, add acidity and heighten the bouquet.

The variety has become the fourth hottest-selling white wine in America, behind Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

Chateau Ste. Michelle, in Washington, expects the 500,000 cases of its 2006 Riesling to sell out. Together with Ernst Loosen of Dr. Loosen in the Mosel, it produces Eroica, which many critics consider America’s finest Riesling.

  • German Riesling registered a major coup in Manhattan this week by becoming the only white wine poured near the catwalks for those attending New York Fashion Week.
  • See also Decanter magazine’s forthcoming April issue in which Linda Murphy examines Riesling’s renaissance on the West Coast
  • Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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