Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA

Where Wine Grows

The Columbia Valley, where the vast terrain ranges from breath-taking river gorges to undulating hills formed by Ice Age floods and ancient volcanoes, is home to the Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA — referred to locally as the Ancient Lakes AVA. The valley is separated from Seattle’s rainy, marine climate by the Cascade Mountains. The state’s wine country lies in the rain shadow of the mountains and enjoys only 6 to 8 inches of rain each year. Here, the conditions are ideal for wine grapes.

Deep in the heart of Washington Wine country, white wine grapes represent the bulk of the grape plantings in the Ancient Lakes growing region. The white grapes are planted on the higher elevations (avg. 1200–1500’) along the Beezley Hills and the Evergreen and Babcock ridges.

White Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris are dominant plantings in the area, along with red varieties used for Rosé style wines.

Red Wine Varieties are planted in close proximity to the Columbia River along the benches and exposed basalt cliffs formed by the “cataract effects” of the Missoula floods. This area lies at a lower elevation and is considerably warmer, lending itself to red wine grape production, including Syrah, Merlot, and others. The diversity of the climate and the soil in the Ancient Lakes regions are perfectly suited for growing a variety of grapes for fine wines.