The state of Washington in the United States has several American Viticultural Areas and we shall briefly dwell on them here. You will learn about the wine producing regions of the state and their unique features. Each region has interesting soil types and microclimates that allow the winemakers there to produce premium wines that possess amazing character and solid characteristics of their terroir.
In addition to holding some amazing AVAs, the state of Washington is home to some of the best wineries and vineyards in the country. While California still holds the torch where sheer volume is concerned, Washington is coming up fast where quality and excellence are concerned.
Horse Heaven Hills AVA
The Horse Heaven Hills AVA is home to some of the oldest and biggest vineyards in the state. It was established in 2005 and has many fine wine producing grape varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon. The best vineyards in the region are planted along the bank of the Columbia River, and the first vineyard planted in the region was the Mercer Ranch now known as Champoux Vineyard.
Wahluke Slope AVA
The Wahluke Slope AVA is located around the south of the Saddle Mountains, and it’s amongst the driest and warmest regions in Washington. The AVA was established in 2006 and produces about 20% of the wine grapes in the state. The climatic conditions are stable being moderately dry and warm, with the sandy soil well drained to avoid water log. The region is suitable for red wine grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.
Yakima Valley AVA
The Yakima Valley is an American Valley Area located within the bigger Columbia Valley AVA, and it was established in 1983. It is the oldest agricultural region in the state for the purpose of farming and accounts for over 40% of the state’s wine production. This AVA holds the largest number of vineyards in the state and is responsible for a very large amount of sales revenue.
The Red Mountain AVA
The Red Mountain was established as an AVA in 2001, and the soil is sandy loam with good drainage which enables the wine grapes to retain the degree if its acidity and achieve full ripeness. Of recent, the region has heightened the quality of varietals like Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Syrah.
The Walla Walla AVA
Walla Walla is a prominent AVA and was established in 1984. It’s located in Washington but a small part extends into the southern region of Oregon. The region is wetter than other areas in Columbia Valley, as it gets above 20 inches of rain every year on average. The AVA has about four unique soil types and Merlot is the most common grape varietal.
The Rattlesnake Hills AVA
The Rattlesnake Hills AVA was established in 2006 even though there was still controversy regarding if the region was any different from Yakima Valley AVA. The temperature is average during the vintage and relatively warmer in winter in comparison to other regions in the Columbia Valley.
Snipes Mountain AVA
The Snipes Mountain AVA was established in 2009 and it’s one of the small wine regions in Washington. It is located on the Snipes Mountain with distinctive rocky soils and topography. This AVA may not get a lot of attention, but it certainly should, as the grapes produced here are outstanding selections for any vintner.
Washington State also produces white wines of high quality, with over 80 varieties of grape in the state. Washington’s AVAs have gained prominence over the past few decades and are responsible for a large sales revenue within the state that amounts to over 2.4 billion dollars annually. We strongly suggest giving the wines from this region a try, as they truly embody their region and every bottle features the outstanding qualities of their terroir.
If you get a chance to try some of the delicious wines coming from Washington’s many AVAs, be sure to leave us a comment about them. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the different wines you have tried and are looking forward to it. In the meantime, we’ll be hard at work here in West Palm Beach as we get ready for our opening later this year in October. Happy tasting!