Across the Cascade Mountain Range is a much different version of Washington than the cold, damp stereotype. While the evergreen forests, perpetual rain and snow-capped peaks of the west often characterize the state, it is among the dry, arid, sloping hills of Eastern Washington that many have found ideally suited for grape growing and winemaking. Washington produces the nation's second largest amount of wine after California and is also the fastest growing: Eastern Washington wineries have jumped from a mere 19 in the early 1990s to 170 wineries today, and just as the number of wineries has increased, so has the prestige of Washington wines.
Still, all this growth and excitement over Eastern Washington wines has done nothing to damper the hospitality and small town feel of the region. Many tasting rooms still let visitors taste free of charge, since those who visit often come with the intend of purchasing the quality Rieslings, Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots that this area is known for. Of the five designated appellations in the state, four are located in Eastern Washington, making it a convenient destination for those who wish to visit several distinct appellations during the coarse of their weekend (or more) visit.