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Washington’s 14 American Viticultural Areas

Dionysus Vineyards is located across the Columbia River from the Columbia Generation Station and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Dionysus Vineyards is located across the Columbia River from the Columbia Generation Station and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Yakima Valley – Established in 1983, Washington’s first AVA is home to roughly one-third of the state’s vineyard acreage.

Walla Walla Valley – Established in 1984, this AVA straddles the Washington-Oregon border and traces wine grape-growing to Italian immigrants in the 1850s. Today, it’s known for its red varietals, such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah, as well as chardonnay.

Columbia Valley – Established in 1984, Washington’s largest AVA encompasses almost all of the state’s vinifera acreage. It includes more than 43,000 acres of wine grapes.

Puget Sound – Established in 1995 and located on the wetter West Side of the state, this AVA is known for its light, crisp wines.

Red Mountain –Established in 2001, this region, home to Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval, two of the state’s most well-known vineyards, produces robust red wines of exceptional quality.

Columbia Gorge – Established in 2004, this small but varied appellation includes both the arid climate of Eastern Washington and maritime climate of Western Washington.

Horse Heaven Hills – Roughly one-quarter of Washington’s wine-grape acreage is located in this appellation, established in 2005 along the Columbia River. It’s grown wine grapes since 1972 and features south-facing slopes with well-drained, loamy soils.

Wahluke Slope – Established in 2005, this appellation features one of the driest and hottest climates in the state and is known for merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon as well as Riesling, chardonnay and chenin blanc.

Snipes Mountain – Established in 2009 but home to vineyards since 1914, this AVA is named for early settler Ben Snipes and features rocky soil.

Lake Chelan – Established in 2009, this appellation features coarse, sandy soil and a milder climate than surrounding areas.

Naches Heights – Established in 2011, this small AVA features clay-heavy soil.

Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley – Established in 2012, this appellation lends itself to white varietals such as Riesling and chardonnay.

Rattlesnake Hills – Established in 2008, this appellation’s first commercial vineyards date back to 1968. It features good air circulation, which helps growers avoid early and late frosts.

Lewis-Clark Valley – Established in 2016, this AVA straddles the Washington-Idaho border and features steep canyons and stony soils.

— Washington State Wine Commission