The Columbia Valley AVA is the largest wine region in the state of Washington, including over 11,000,000 acres, of which over 50,000 acres are planted in vineyards. The Columbia Valley AVA includes 99% of the total vineyard area planted in the state of Washington. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc are most abundant plantings in the growing region. The unique climates of the area allow the Columbia Valley to produce wines that are fruit forward, like California wine, but also retains some of the balance and structure of European wines. The Cascade Range forms its western boundary with the Palouse regions bordering the area to the east. To the north, the Okanogan National Forest forms a border with the AVA and Canada. The Columbia Valley stretches between the 46th parallel and 47th parallel which puts it in line with the well known French wine growing regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. There are currently ten sub-AVA’s within the Columbia Valley: Ancient Lakes, Yakima Valley, Red Mountain, Walla Walla Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills, Lake Chelan, Naches Heights, Snipes Mountain and Wahluke Slope. The soil composition of these AVA’s is varied. Thousands of years ago, there were a series of floods that persisted throughout the region known as the Missoula Floods. During this time, a large amount of silt-based soil and sand was washed into the area, on top of the already existing volcanic rock and gravel. This soil makeup is ideal for growing grape vines, as it allows rainfall to drain much more efficiently. The vast size of the appellation allows for an array of diverse microclimates among the various sub-appellations, but the region shares the common climate traits of cold winters and long dry growing seasons with low humidity. The warm days and cool nights of the area help retain the balance of acid and sugar levels in the grape which gives Washington Wines their characteristic balance in flavors, a luxury only a few regions in the world are afforded!