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Regent A Puget Sound AVA Red Wine Grape

January 28, 2012


Many people come out to Western Washington’s wine hub in the city of Woodinville and wonder “where are the grapes?”.     The people in the know point East, make a smug look and say Eastern Washington.

Well, the truth is that there are actually vines and grapes in the Puget Sound area.  The Puget Sound is a designated AVA known as the Puget Sound AVA.  This is the same designation given Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, Snipes Mountain and the newest AVA called Naches Heights.    There are twelve American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), as recognized and defined by the United States Treasury Department; Alcohol & Tobacco Taxes & Trade Bureau in Washington State.

For those familiar with The Puget Sound AVA they know it’s grape varietals are typically white due to the “cold climate” grapes that thrive in the region.    What is lesser known is that there are a few red varietals that do well in the Puget Sound AVA as well.    One well known varietal is Pinot Noir made famous by our neighbors in Oregon and the Willamette Valley and the coastal regions of California.    Oh, and then there was that movie….   Anyway, another intriguing cold climate red grape varietal worthy of mention is known as Regent.

Regent has both European (Vitis vinifera) and American vine species in its pedigree and a solid resistance against the most significant fungal diseases which affect cold climate grapes, such as downy mildew.   Regent is a hybrid grape developed in 1967  by crossing Diana, a Silvaner x Müller-Thurgau.   And the taste?  It’s a fabulous food friendly lighter alcohol (12.5%)  red wine.    To me it is similar to Pinot Noir with a little more spice.

Where to find it?  Hollywood Hill Vineyards!  Winemaker/Owner Steve Snyder is known on twitter as @grapegeek for a reason.  His passion for the Puget Sound AVA is evident.  He has the only commercial vineyard in Woodinville and produces an array of Puget Sound sourced wines as well as a good mix of Eastern Washington sourced wines.   Steve is also the first winemaker to commercially bottle Regent in the U.S.  So, be adventurous, take a trip to Woodinville and try Regent.   There are only 75 cases so go soon!   You will find it is well worth the trip.    Cheers!

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