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January 19, 2018 | 5:49 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

When we set out to choose our Hot Brands, our goal is to always represent the American wine industry. Often, that means discovering a new winery in an established region while also paying homage to the stalwarts who continue to move the industry forward. It means we look at wineries in emerging states, that might be bucking a trend or trying new techniques. Our editors look for wines that are embodiments of national trends or have soaring sales. Sometimes we’ll choose the winemaker, not the wine.

Quite often, we end up with a couple of wines that were unexpected. During the search for a Pinot Noir, for example, we may discover a producer who is also making Tempranillo—and is doing such a good job of it, we adjust our plans to include it. We’re never quite sure how the list will turn out, but it’s a chance for us to explore new regions, varietals and winemakers.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. That’s exactly what we do, as representatives from each of these wineries were on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January. Cheers!

Syncline Winery
2016 Picpoul, Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley, WA
Unique Topography Meets Unique Grape

There’s a geology term for the downward fold or valley created in a trough of stratified rock in which the beds dip toward each other from either side: the syncline. These rock formations can be found the world over, though some have become well-known in their own right, like The Catlins in New Zealand or the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.
In Washington’s Columbia Gorge, a series of eruptions created the Columbia River Basalt Group, which formed a series of synclines and anticlines (ridges) in the Columbia Basin. One such series is known by geologists as the “Bingen Syncline” and by locals as the “Coyote Wall,” named for the steep, 1,800-foot basalt cliffs that reach up and out of the Columbia River. The formation provides a breathtaking backdrop for a vineyard and winery sitting in the syncline.

These features provide the name for Syncline Wine Cellars, based in Lyle, Washington on the eastern edge of the Columbia Gorge AVA. The winery was founded by James and Poppie Mantone, a husband and wife team who met while working the cellar at LaVelle Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

The full story on Syncline Winery ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2018 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Taste all the Hot Brands at our Annual Bottle Bash, the night before the Unified Symposium.
Click here to register
 

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