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Naches Heights AVA

December 15, 2011

Washington State has it’s twelfth AVA!   On Wednesday December 14, the U.S. government announced the approval of Naches Heights as a designate AVA.     All 37.3 acres of it!   O.K…. It’s actually encompasses an area of 13, 254 acres but only 37.3 are currently planted in vines. 

Close to Yakima and  in the Columbia Valley AVA region the terroir of Naches Heights differs significantly.  The region tends to be higher in elevation than many areas of Washington wine country, ranging from 1,200 feet at its lowest point to 2,100 feet. It also receives plenty of heat and little rainfall. 

Two of the winery/winemaker pioneers in the area include Wildridge Winery and Naches Heights Vineyards.  Wildridge currently has 12 acres planted of an 85 acre site purchased in 2007. 

Paul Beveridge, owner of Wilridge Winery in Seattle, said the Naches Heights was unaffected by the ice age floods 15,000 years ago because of its location and elevation. That means its wind-blown soils are much older. He described the Naches Heights as one of the few grape-growing spots in the state that actually gain soil each year.

“It just keeps blowing in,” he said.

Naches Heights Vineyard ‘s Phil Cline has been a believer in the area since his 2002 plantings of pinot gris and syrah.    He has plans to plant another 80 acres….soon!

The Naches Heights AVA will become official Jan. 13 and will be Washington’s 12th AVA. Washington is the second-largest wine-producing state in the country, second to California, making about 12 million cases annually from 40,000 acres of vines.

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