Washington wine – at a crossroads?

Washington State Wine - Walla Walla Valley by Andrea Johnson Photography

What will the sale of the state's dominant producer mean for grape growers and wine styles?

On 9 July 2021, shock waves rippled through the US wine industry at the news that Ste Michelle Wine Estates, the huge Washington wine producer which owns brands Chateau Ste Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, Erath, Intrinsic and Patz & Hall and is responsible for roughly 60% of Washington wine sales by volume, had been sold for $1.2 billion. It's a sobering reminder (no pun intended) that the wine industry is a tough one.

As someone in the business of selling wine recently said...