With 43,000 planted acres, Washington State has ideal geography and conditions for growing complex, flavorful wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, which support healthier plants, the diverse range of varieties planted in Washington State are found in the eastern part of the state. Here, the grapes enjoy long, hot, sunny days and cool, clear nights. At Columbia Winery, our winemaker Sean Hails carefully selects grapes from the top quality AVAs within the Columbia Valley to craft our wines, including the Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope and Red Mountain.
Washington’s largest appellation, the Columbia Valley comprises more than 60 percent (17,000 acres) of the state's total vinifera grape plantings and provides all of the grapes for our blends. This high-desert region encompasses parts of three rivers – the Columbia, Snake and Yakima – as well as the Yakima Valley, Red Mountain, Wahluke Slope and Horse Heaven Hills appellations. Its volcanic, well-drained, sandy loam soils are low in nutrients, which stresses the vines and yields intensely concentrated flavors.
Established in 1983, Yakima Valley is Washington’s oldest appellation and is home to our Sunnyside winery. It lies within the larger Columbia Valley and includes 10,000 acres of wine grapes, roughly one-third the state’s total. Due to its cooler climate in some areas, we look to this region for a majority of our Chardonnay grapes. We also select many of our red grapes from this sub-AVA’s warmer mesoclimates for added layers of complexity.
Located in southeastern Washington, this Columbia Valley sub-region is named for the wild mustangs that used to roam its hills. Today, it has over 6,000 acres of wine grapes, many on steep, south-facing slopes rising up to 1,800 feet. This region provides us with ripe, rich grapes for our Columbia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec.
Established in 2006, Wahluke Slope has some of the warmest temperatures and lowest annual precipitation levels in the state. This combination of factors creates a vibrant color and intense flavors in our wines, especially our Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Located at the easternmost tip of the Yakima Valley at a sharp bend of the Yakima River, Red Mountain encompasses approximately 4,000 acres. One of the warmest regions in Washington, Red Mountain offers exceptionally bold red grapes for our Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as many of our limited production wines.