Washington’s largest wine growing region, at 4.45 million hectares, is known for its continental high desert climate with hot summer days promoting slow, even ripening, while the cool nights ensure that grapes retain their natural acidity.
This region includes a whopping 99% of wine grapes grown in Washington State, at 23,971 hectares under vine.
Scroll down for the top-scoring Columbia Valley 2018 red wines
The Columbia Valley contains the American Viticultural Regions of Red Mountain, Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys, Wahluke Slope, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Snipes Mountain, Lake Chelan, Naches Heights and Ancient Lakes within its borders.
Individual analysis by AVA:
With the exception of Lewis-Clark Valley, Puget Sound and Columbia Gorge, all other growing regions in Washington are sub-appellations of the Columbia Valley.
Vineyards are typically planted on predominately south-facing slopes, increasing solar radiation in summer and promoting air drainage in winter.