Located in the central and eastern part of the state, the Columbia Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) accounts for 99% of all wine produced in Washington. Stretching from Canada into Oregon, the 11,000,000-acre region features more than 40,000 acres of vineyards. The region’s northerly latitude, similar to Bordeaux and Burgundy, provides the Columbia Valley with two hours of additional sunlight during the summer months than California. There are eight smaller AVAs within the Columbia Valley: Yakima Valley, Red Mountain, Walla Walla, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills, Lake Chelan, Snipes Mountain and Wahluke Slope. We currently harvest fruit from a number of celebrated sites in four of these AVAs. Here are brief overviews of a few of those regions.
Over the years we have sourced fruit from a number of wonderful sites in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, most notably the Champoux Vineyard. The region borders the Yakima Valley to the north and the Columbia River to the south. As with most of the winegrowing regions in Eastern Washington, Horse Heaven Hills is buffeted by strong winds from the west throughout the growing season. This is a superb appellation for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The Wahluke Slope AVA has garnered high marks for its wines thanks to a handful of great growers including the Milbrandt brothers. The region is located north of the Columbia River and south of the Saddle Mountains. The warm, windy climate and porous soils make this a great spot for red Bordeaux and Rhone varieties.
Red Mountain is the smallest AVA in Washington with only 4,040 acres, 600 of which are currently planted to vines. It is a sub-region of Yakima Valley, which is, in turn, a sub-region of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. The area has garnered international attention for its extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Cabernet Francs and Syrahs. Red Mountain is home to a number of Washington “cult” producers.
As our home AVA, we have a special fondness for the Walla Walla Valley. While vines were first planted here in the 1840, Walla Walla’s reputation as a great wine producer began in earnest in the 1970s. Today it is home to some of Washington’s most respected producers. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates our plantings (36.6%), with Syrah (17.3%) and Merlot just behind (17.1%). Low rainfall, strong winds and large diurnal temperature swings ensure great concentration, structure and character in our wines.
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