Auto Tour

Washington Wine Regions

Map of Washington's 14 Wine Regions

Map by John King (Click to Enlarge)

Your Guide to Washington’s 14 Wine Regions

By John King

It’s hard to overstate the sweeping nature of Washington’s wine scene. Growing regions extend from the windswept coast to the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades to the sagebrush desert in the eastern reaches of the state.

Across these disparate landscapes, winemakers tend more than 59,000 acres of vines and are responsible for more than 1,000 wineries. And not for nothing, but Washington harvested 261,000 tons of wine grapes in 2018. According to the Washington State Wine Commission, all that makes the Evergreen State the second-largest wine region in the United States just behind California.

In all, 14 growing regions — also known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) — span the state, each showcasing that area’s unique soils, growing capabilities, and distinct climates.

With a wide variety of growing conditions and such an enormous annual output, it’s no surprise that wine touring has become such a popular activity throughout Washington. So, if you’re looking for your next favorite chardonnay or merlot, here’s a look at Washington’s 14 regions, along with what to expect in each, what sets them apart, and how to explore every area.

Before you head out, however, keep in mind that wineries and tasting rooms may keep limited hours and require reservations. Check with your preferred wineries ahead of time and prepare for social distancing measures to keep visitors and employees safe. Remember to designate a driver.

Vineyards in Yakima Valley

1. Yakima Valley AVA

No tour of Washington’s wine scene is complete without a nod to the AVA that started it all.

Wenatchee Apples

2. Walla Walla Valley AVA

The Walla Walla Valley is home to some of the state’s oldest wineries.

Vineyards at Columbia Valley

3. Columbia Valley AVA

Far and way, Columbia Valley is the largest growing region in Washington state.

Puget Sound

4. Puget Sound AVA

The Puget Sound AVA offers the best of all worlds for grape growers.

Vineyards at Red Mountain

5. Red Mountain AVA

Not a mountain, nor red in color, but it has some of Washington’s most popular grapes.

Columbia Gorge Vineyards

6. Columbia Gorge AVA

Columbia Gorge AVA is just west of Washington’s largest growing region.

Vineyards at Horse Heaven Hills

7. Horse Heaven Hills AVA

Horse Heaven Hills AVA produces nearly a quarter of the state’s grape production.

Vineyards at Waluke AVA

8. Wahluke Slope AVA

The Wahluke Slope AVA sits in the heart of the broader Columbia Valley AVA.

Vineyards at Rattle Snake HIlls

9. Rattlesnake Hills AVA

Rattlesnake Hills AVA occupies a unique niche in central Washington.

Upland Vineyards at Snipes Mountain

10. Snipes Mountain AVA

The Snipes Mountain AVA has a vast output despite being Washington’s second-smallest growing region.

Lake Chelan AVA

11. Lake Chelan AVA

What sets Lake Chelan apart from the rest of the region is a higher elevation and more moderate climate.

The Naches vinyards

12. Naches Heights AVA

It is an example of how the region’s grapes reflect the unique geography of their growing area.

Wenatchee Apples

13. Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA

The Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA is named for the roughly three-dozen lakes that dot the region.

Lewis and Clark Valley

14. Lewis-Clark Valley AVA

It is Washington’s easternmost growing region and most of which actually resides in Idaho

Pin It on Pinterest