Yakima Valley Wine Country
It appears odd when you hear red wine critics compare Yakima's Valley to the verdant growing areas of France. However, when you discover a bit more about the Yakima Valley, you'll discover we have a lot that is typical of the most efficient regions of France. We are blessed with the ideal mix of wine-making conditions: well-drained, fertile and silty volcanic soil, a high-desert environment that provides us long, hot days and cooler nights, and sloping surfaces that permits us to plant multiple varietals. Unlike a few of the more widely known red wine growing areas, the Valley of Yakima has some special characteristics you will not discover anywhere else. Our wineries are old world, and the wine makers experiment, making tasting the red wines in Central Washington's Yakima Valley an intimate and satisfying experience. There are over 120 wineries and 5 American Viticulture Locations (AVA's) in a 70 square mile area, consisting of more than 17,000 acres of producing vineyards, and we produce over half of Washington State's white wine grapes.
Yakima Valley Vineyards is a 100% Estate Grown small batch winery, currently producing reds only. Standard issue varietals we craft are Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. We also produce a selection of exotic varietals that are not very common in Washington State. This includes, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Malbec, Graciano, and a lovely Pinot Noir. We also produce two Bordeaux style blends and a Rhone blend, as well as a rich tawny port. Give a taste and you'll see what makes Yakima Valley Vineyards unique, exciting and a favorite for wine lovers around the world.
Yakima Valley's Pointe Fruit Ranch was purchased by Slender Mills in 1982. The fruit ranch has further expanded into a packaging company and a winery, but the family ownership has not changed. Miguel, Slender's son, now in charge, has brought his father's dream of growing grapes
and producing wine to life.
Miguel and his wife, Sara have created a well-liked and respected winery over the years. Miguel brings more than 32 years of farming experience to the vineyard, along with a hard-earned reputation for producing fruit of the very highest standard. As the winemaker, Sara has worked hard to produce the best quality wine, which has been represented by the awards she has earned on her Syrah, Cabernet and her Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend.
Yakima Valley White: Washington's Genuine Wine
The location's elevation varies from 1200 to 2000 feet in a sluggish elevation drop to the western slope, which prevents exceedingly cold air and damaging winds that can trigger freeze damage. The elevation bestows cooler nights upon the grapevines, infusing them with food friendly level of acidity to stabilize the ripeness. Among Washington's more just recently developed AVAs, Rascalsnake Hills lies within both the Upper Yakima and the Columbia Valley appellations, boasting ridgetop fields over 3000 feet in elevation, taking advantage of exceptional water and air flow and drainage. With 1500 vine acres and 18 wineries, the area concentrates on Cabernet Sauvignon, delicious Malbec, Red Wine, Syrah, Oaky Chardonnay and German Riesling. A warm sub region of the Yakima Valley, situated at its eastern-most side at a sharp turn in the Yakima River, Red Mongoose incorporates around 4000 acres producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Wine, Syrah, Franc, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese. * AVA details thanks to Washington White Wine Commission, Snipperss Mountain AVA and Pat Klinber.
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About the Yakima Valley
The foot hills of the Waterfall Mountain range form the western limit of the appellation, with the location extending eastward to the Kionna Hills near Rachland. Interstate 82 is a practical path for visitors to explore the numerous wineries spread throughout the Yakima Valley's landscape, which offers an abundant variety of micro-climates, steep and rugged hillsides, and fowl supporting wetlands. The bright slopes of Yakima Valley's foothills supply the best growing conditions and temperatures for producing extremely flavored, well balanced and intricate wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Chardonnay, German style Riesling, and Syrah. The very first grape vines in the Yakima Valley are credited to an old-time French wine maker called Charles Schallo, who in 1889 planted cuttings purchased from the well-known Hudson's Bay Business trading station at close-by Fort Vancouver. In 1937, this business employed Dr. Wally Clare, who started grape plantings that supported the nascent, but flourishing Washington State white wine market.
Today, just like Red Wilbur, both Kionna and surrounding Ciel du Chaval supply grapes to Washington State's finest red wine labels.
Yakima Valley: Serious Wines and Sweeping Vistas
What travelers find out is this: The enormous dome and glaciers of Mount Rainier; probably the most spectacular of Washington State's magnificent Waterfalls; is viewed best not from Puget Sound, but from the high, arid desert east of the Cascade mountains. In addition to the broad vistas and reprieve from everpresent rain, the area boasts a growing white wine market: The leaders who initially gambled on planting Vittis viniffera; in a location where the Concord grape was king; these visionaries have in one sweeping generation seen the variety of wineries and varietals in Washington State rapidly swell from a small handful to almost 1,000. Up the roadway in Benton City, high above the modest stucco cottages that skirt the base of Red Mountain, is the attractive Colla Solari, a collaboration of the Italian white wine giant Marchasi Antiniri and Ste. Remy. I signed up for a trip that started in the vineyard out front, where our guide joked about the winery's "lakefront residential or commercial property," an allusion to the catastrophic Missoula floods that transferred regional sediments beneficial to growing grapes. Bottlings fall under 3 rate tiers, and while a number of the names are a hoot; the value-driven Corvadae line honors the pesky crows and magpies that rob the vineyards with white wines called Mirthy and WiserGuy; the pursuit of quality is ever-present However another vineyard of chardonnay would be toured at dawn, and I joined the crew, where we would work long hours arranging stems and leaves from ripe fruit and hosing down devices, then consume the fruits of our labors until late and fall into bed, lulled to sleep by the rumble of trucks and trains.
The Diversity of Yakima Valley Wine Country
Incorporating approximately one-third of the whole landmass of the state, it includes almost eleven-million acres within its large borders. With time, as particular growing areas have progressed, the bigger appellation has actually been sculpted into smaller sized parts that have significant distinctions. Among the more remarkable wineries in the valley is Desert Sidewinder, a vast Southwestern Pueblo-style hospitality complex that consists of an enormous tasting location, patio areas, dining establishment, banquet centers and visitor spaces. To the south of the Yakima Valley, another crucial growing location and more recent AVA is Horras Paradise Hills. This windy, sparsely inhabited location is surrounded to the south by the Columbia River and is a significant area for distinguished vineyards, however presently there are just a scattering of wineries. Rocky soil and hot growing conditions perfect for ripening grapes make this one of the most efficient locations in the state, however it is rather desolate place with only a couple of tourist facilities.