Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Washington An Open Secret World-class wines flow from this unheralded quality frontier.”

Harvey Steiman-Wine Spectator.

Where once apples, cherries, winter wheat, and juice grapes grew, since the beginning of the 1990’s the region has become famous for producing outstanding wines. Today Washington is the second largest producer of American wines after California with 11 million cases produced in 2009.

Allen Shoup CEO of Stimson Lane (owner of Chateau St. Michelle & Columbia Crest) for twenty years is recognized as on of the founding fathers of the Renaissance in Washington wine. During his tenure, a 4,000 acre region of unsung vineyards in the 1980s was transformed into 30,000 acres of world-class viniferous grapes by 2000. It is by far the largest winery in Washington accounting for 60 percent of the wine growing acreage and the seventh larger producer in the United States.

He initiated joint ventures that brought Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Germany’s famed Dr. Ernst Loosen to Washington. Out of these came Col Solare, a luxury wine shaped in the Bordeaux tradition, and Erotica, which helped spark Riesling resurgence throughout the country. On two separate occasions, five individual wines crafted under Allen’s tutelage appeared in the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year.

After twenty years at the helm of Stimson Lane he retired to pursue a personal dream. His goal: To extend his vision of creating some of the most extraordinary wines from Columbia Valley’s top vineyards, produced by world renowned winemakers each in their own style.

In 2003 he formed
Long Shadow Vineyards.
Food & Wine Magazine named it it’s Winery of the Year in 2007.

Robert Parker In the Wine Advocate wrote, “For the third straight year, every wine in this portfolio has achieved an outstanding rating. Long Shadows is the brainchild of Alan Shoup, former longtime CEO of Stimson Lane. It is a consortium of seven different labels, each with its own star winemaker who has a 25% share in the brand. The concept is that each winemaker is dedicated to producing a single Columbia Valley wine representing a ‘best of type’ that reflects the winemaker’s signature style.”

What makes Washington wines unique is a combination of climate and geography.
There is a sharp difference in climate between western and eastern Washington. West of the Cascades you will find rain forests, mild temperatures, and lush weather year round. East of formidable Cascades you suddenly descend into a semi-desert with hot dry days and cold nights during the summer and cold to arctic winters.

Eastern Washington is where 99% of the States wine grapes are grown and 9 out of the 10 appellations are located. The continental climate that is on virtually the same latitude of Bordeaux and Burgundy are ideal for the growing of Bordeaux varietals. Rainless summers and autumn minimize disease while the hot summer days and cool nights allow the grapes to ripen and the acids to hold. With drip irrigation canopies can be controlled and the grapes can receive exactly the right amount of water they require.

To fully develop and make more complex and complete wines, winemakers are increasing the use of grapes like cabernet franc, petit verdot as well as merlot to produce Bordeaux blends that have lower alcohol, great finesse as well as ripeness.

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