Elephant Mountain - Rattlesnake Hills Appellation - established in 2006
- Located approximately four miles southeast of Yakima, the 68,500 acre (27,721 hectares) appellation has 1,500 acres (607 hectares) under vines.
- With 17 wineries and 29 vineyards, it provides many Washington producers with cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, syrah, chardonnay and riesling.
- Encompassing an expanse of hills running east to west along the northern point of the Yakima River and south of Moxee Valley, the Rattlesnake Hills AVA lies within both the established Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley appellations.
- Beginning at an elevation of 850 feet and rising up to 3,085 feet, the viticultural area sits higher in elevation than the surrounding Yakima Valley region.
- The first commercial vineyards in the region date back to 1968.
- Vineyards are typically located on ridges and terraces and in areas with good air drainage to avoid late spring and early fall frost and winter kill.
Yakima Valley - Established 1983
Wahluke Slope - established in 2006
- Washington State's first appellation includes more that 40 wineries.
- 10,000 vineyard acres (4,047 hectares), over one third of Washington's vineyards.
- Most widely planted grape is Chardonnay, followed by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Riesling and Syrah represent significant acreage, with Syrah in particular on the rise.
- Silt-loam soils predominate.
- 190 day growing season with annual precipitation of approximately 8 inches (20 cm).
Columbia Valley - established 1984
- Naturally bounded by the Columbia River to the west and south, by the Saddle Mountains on the north, and on the east by the Hanford Reach National Monument.
- The Wahluke Slope AVA lies entirely within the established Columbia Valley appellation and is home to more than 20 vineyards, one winery and two wine production facilities.
- The 81,000 acre region features approximately 5,200 acres of vineyards (nearly twenty percent of the total wine grape acreage in the state).
- Top grape varieties: Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc.
- Wahluke Slope has one of the driest, warmest climates in the state allowing complete control of vine vigor and ripening through irrigation.
- Washington's largest viticultural region, covering almost 11 million acres (4,451,700 hectares) representing a full third of Washington State's land mass.
- More than 17,000 vineyard acres (6,880 hectares) of wine grapes planted and approximately 15 wineries.
- Columbia Valley's vast size allows for a number of meso and micro-climates.
- Vineyards planted on predominately south-facing slopes, increasing solar radiation in summer and promoting air drainage in winter.
- Merlot is the most widely planted varietal, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
- Riesling and Syrah are also planted in significant quantities.
- Growing season of 180-200 days with annual rainfall averaging 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm).
- Columbia Valley contains Red Mountain and both the Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys within its borders.
Source: Washington Wine commission, http://www.washingtonwine.org/appel.cfm