Washington wineries appreciate governor's support

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Governor Chris Gregoire backed Washington wine over California wines once again this week by throwing down the gauntlet in support of local winemakers.

Gregoire recalled the conversation she had on a trade tour is Paris, toasting with Washington wine.

"Finally someone said, 'But governor, what about California wine and I said they make jug wine, we make fine wine, and everybody toasted," Gregoire said.

Washington wineries video

Out at Arbor Crest they wholeheartedly support the governor's comments that wineries across the state put out a great product.

"It's encouraging, it makes me realize that we're understood that were part of the economic success and vitality of Washington state," Arbor Crest general manager Jim Van Loben Sels said.

Van Lobel Sels is both the general manager and the viticulturist at Arbor Crest winery in Spokane Valley. He says Washington wine could be considered the best in the United States and Washington has more top-rated wines at a good value than California in Wine Spectator magazine.

He added that other viticulturists are moving to the northwest to make wine because there's a dry climate here, and perfect conditions for growing grapes.

Of course Van Lobel Sels admits he's a bit biased.

"That's what makes Washington wines so exciting. We're not overpriced, people can afford to drink it everyday if they want and they get a great value," he said.

Arbor Crest was the 29th winery to open in Washington State. Now there are more than 700 across the state.