One of Washington’s northernmost growing regions surrounds the popular Lake Chelan at the northwest corner of the broader Columbia Valley AVA. What sets Lake Chelan apart from the rest of the region is a higher elevation and more moderate climate — partly thanks to Lake Chelan itself — which leads to cool winters and results in an almost 50-50 split between red and white grape varieties.
In all, 16 wineries call the Lake Chelan AVA home, and the region’s top grapes include syrah, merlot, malbec, pinot gris, gewürztraminer, and chardonnay.
Cities and Towns
Travel here starts and ends with the communities in the Lake Chelan Valley: Stehekin, Chelan and Manson all host B&Bs, cabins, campsites, hotels and motels, rental homes and resorts.
Key Touring Routes
Wineries and tasting rooms can be found along U.S. Route 97 Alt on Lake Chelan’s southern shore, while State Route 150 is the main thoroughfare along Lake Chelan’s northern shore.
The Mediterranean-inspired Benson Vineyards Estate Winery produces 100-percent estate wines not far from the shores of Lake Chelan, and its scenic tasting room showcases wide-open views of the sparkling lake. Nefarious Cellars has been growing wine grapes near Lake Chelan since 1998. Now, more than 20 years later, it hosts one of the region’s most scenic tasting rooms with a patio that overlooks the lake.
Please remember to designate a driver.
– Written by John King. Updated by Matthew Wastradowski in September 2020