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Yakima Valley, Rattlesnake Hills, Snipes Mountain, Red Mountain, Candy Mountain

This is a fascinating grouping. It starts with the biggie, Yakima Valley AVA, and then goes west to east through the sub-AVAs of Yakima Valley: Rattlesnake Hills, Snipes Mountain, Red Mountain, and Candy Mountain.

Learning about these AVAs as a group makes sense geographically, and by stepping through the area west to east you’ll learn the subtle differences each regions possesses.

As with many Washington State AVAs, these regions are dominated by growers who sell their fruit to a wide array of customers. Quite often the grapes of a regions will be blended into a “Yakima Valley AVA” or “Columbia Valley AVA” wine with each region bringing certain qualities the winemaker wants to represent. Outside of Washington State, with the exception of Red Mountain AVA, there is little public knowledge or recognition of the different regions.

All of this is evolving, however. In the past two or three years I’m seeing more Washington AVA-grouped wine sections in shops and on wine lists.

Yakima Valley

A very important region for Washington Wine (1/3 of the state’s grapes production), as well as other agricultural industries (80% of the hops in America are produced here, and a huge amount of the Washington apple industry can be found in Yakima Valley as well).

Yakima Valley AVA was the first AVA in Washington, pre-dating Columbia Valley AVA!

Winesearcher: Yakima Valley AVA

Washington Wine Commission: Yakima Valley AVA

A good source to explore and plan a trip: Yakima Valley Wine Country

Rattlesnake Hills

Winesearcher: Rattlesnake Hills AVA

Washington Wine Commission: Rattlesnake Hills AVA

Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail: Our Wineries (this is a good example of what you run into when you travel to Washington’s wine regions … wineries you’ve never heard of before! There are over 1000 wineries in the state, with a new one opening seemingly every week, and most are small production and don’t distribute to the rest of the country).

A personal favorite winery of the area: Two Mountain Winery

Snipes Mountain

Winesearcher: Snipes Mountain

Washington Wine Commission: Snipes Mountain AVA

Wines Northwest: Snipes Mountain (good info on the history of the area, and terroir)

Red Mountain

One of my favorite wine regions in Washington State, along with Walla Walla Valley. The wines of Red Mountain have power and presence, and this is increasingly being recognized by sommeliers, wine shops, and restaurants as a special region deserving attention.

One of our favorite wineries, and a must visit when there, is Hedges Family Estate.

Winesearcher: Red Mountain AVA

Washington Wine Commission: Red Mountain AVA

VinMaps: Map of Red Mountain AVA (really cool)

Another favorite producer: Kiona Vineyards (pioneers in Red Mountain, planting in 1975)

Red Mountain AVA Alliance (GREAT info, maps, and photos … a must read! Especially check out the trade section, where you can get more great info and maps).

Candy Mountain

One of the newest AVAs in Washington. It’s so new, you won’t find it on many maps. It’s also the smallest AVA in the state at just over 800 acres in total size (just over 100 acres of vines planted).

Wine Industry Advisor: Candy Mountain Becomes Washington’s 16th AVA

Washington Wine Commission: Candy Mountain AVA

Society of Wine Educators: Welcome to the World, Candy Mountain AVA!