Art Chowder September | October 2021 Issue No. 35 Issue 35 | Page 23
A LOT TO PLAY WITH
While enology studies the process of fermenting grape juice , viticulture elaborates on the wisdom of growing those grapes . Among the basalt-laden cliffs of the Pacific Northwest , vineyards grow out of dusty loess , mineral-rich loam or even river-rolled rocks in ancient riverbeds .
Winemaking styles show as much range as there are independentlyminded winemakers to express themselves with wine . Where once winemakers relied on the seat of their pants or perhaps a background in chemistry , there exists a plethora of resources to manage one ’ s fermented art , embracing the kaleidoscope of possible flavors and combinations . One thing we have learned for certain : one species of grape , Vitis vinifera , has the tastiest balance of sugar and acidity for us — and there are no less than 4,500 varieties of that species to work with .
THE EXPLOSION CONTINUES
By 1980 , the modern popularity of wine had begun , and California had a whopping 432 wineries . If the Sunshine State were its own nation , it would be the fourth largest producer in the world from no less than 4700-plus wineries , yet the number of enthusiasts for the flavor of Washington wine has grown even more exponentially . Today , Washington boasts 1050-plus wineries according to the