Lake Chelan, Ancient Lakes, Royal Slope, Wahluke Slope, Naches Heights
I like grouping these five AVAs together, though each has its own personality. Running north to south, these are the AVAs outside of (north of) the Yakima Valley and each presents interesting qualities for the wine drinker.
Keep in mind that shopping for Washington wines by AVA is not easy outside of being in Washington State. Most wineries that are making, for example, an Ancient Lakes AVA designated wine are making it in such small quantities that it rarely goes into national distribution.
In other words, most Washington wines you find for sale outside of Washington state are the larger-production wines that can support distribution channels and re-orders from retailers and restaurants. That doesn’t mean they are lesser wines (by any stretch!) but simply that they are produced in larger quantities.
This is part of the fun of traveling to Washington, for it’s the best way to find many of the gems of the industry.
One of the most beautiful playgrounds for the adults of Seattle to escape to during the summer months. Weekend traffic backs up as tens of thousands of tourists descend on Lake Chelan for recreation and escape. Having a small wine industry only adds to the fun.
Winesearcher: Lake Chelan AVA
Washington State Wine Commission: Lake Chelan
Check out all the area has to offer: Visit Lake Chelan
On the north end of Lake Chelan is the village of Stehekin (population 72), accessible only by boat or sea plane. If you’re looking for the ultimate getaway, this may be it! Learn more
Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley
Winesearcher: Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA
Washington State Wine Commission: Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley
Discover Washington Wine: Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA
Jones of Washington is a favorite producer of ours, and on their website they have good descriptions of Ancient Lakes and Wahluke Slope.
Washington State Wine Commission: Royal Slope
Wineseacher: Wahluke Slope
Washington State Wine Commission: Wahluke Slope
SeattleMet: Article on Luke Wines, a specialty producer focusing on the Wahluke Slope AVA
One of the smallest AVAs in America in terms of total acres planted. Good luck finding a wine labeled Naches Heights!
Washington State Wine Commission: Naches Heights
Wineseacher: Naches Heights
Washington Wine Report: An In-Depth Look at the New Naches Heights AVA (December 2011)