The number of wineries in Washington has increased more than fourfold over the past 15 years. Meet the winemakers changing the face of Washington wine.

Washington State has seen explosive growth over the last 15 years, ballooning from 200 wineries to more than 940 today. With this growth has come an influx of talented winemakers, all with their own ideas about what Washington wine is and how it should be made.

Though young, many of them have diversified the style and increased overall quality statewide. The five winemakers chronicled here are among those having an outsized impact on Washington’s wines.

Victor Palencia

Palencia Wines/Monarca Wines

“My upbringing was in the vineyards,” says Victor Palencia.

Born in Mexico, Palencia came to eastern Washington with his family when he was two. His father began working in the state’s vineyards and, once he was 13, Palencia would join him after school. “It was very labor-intensive,” he says.

Come high school, he shifted to working at his neighbor’s winery, Willow Crest. “I fell in love with [winemaking]. By the time I was a senior, I had my mind set that this was fully what I wanted to do.”

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