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New AVA for Washington

Washington’s Rattlesnake Hills will soon become this Pacific Northwest state’s ninth federal appellation.

The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau will award the hills American Viticultural Area status on March 20.

This new AVA rises east to west along the northern edge of the Yakima River Valley in south-central Washington. It falls within the existing Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley appellations.

The 68,500 acre (27,721ha) appellation has 1,500 acres (607 hectares) under vines. With 17 wineries and 29 vineyards, it provides many Washington producers with cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, syrah, chardonnay and riesling.

Robin Pollard, the Washington Wine Commission’s executive director, terms the hills a ‘unique viticultural area.’ Richard Boushey of Boushey Vineyards in Grandview, Washington, disagrees.

Urging Washington to reject the AVA petition, Boushey argued: ‘I know of no regional style, specific variety or type of wine that is unique to this proposed area. The granting of this proposal would confuse consumers and undermine the existing Yakima Valley Appellation.’

Gauged by 400-plus wineries, Washington is America’s No. 2 wine-producing state after California.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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