Wahluke Slope a remote region popular with winemakers

By on July 16, 2017
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The federal government established the Wahluke Slope American Viticultural Area in 2006. It is bounded by the Columbia River to the west and south, the Saddle Mountains to the north and the Hanford Reach National Monument to the east. The AVA is home to more than 20 vineyards and includes 8,491 acres of vineyards — about 15 percent of the total wine grape acreage in Washington state.

The federal government established the Wahluke Slope American Viticultural Area in 2006. It is bounded by the Columbia River to the west and south, the Saddle Mountains to the north and the Hanford Reach National Monument to the east. The AVA is home to more than 20 vineyards and includes 8,491 acres of vineyards — about 15 percent of the total wine grape acreage in Washington state. (Photo courtesy of the Washington State Wine Commission)

The Wahluke Slope is a dusty, often forgotten corner of Washington wine country. In reality, it is the backbone of the Washington wine industry, thanks to its consistently warm temperatures and ability to ripen grapes.

Established as a federally approved American Viticultural Area in 2005, the region is a 13-mile-wide gravel bar formed by the Ice Age floods some 12,000 years ago. It is bordered on two sides by the Columbia River and has a grape-growing history that dates back to the 1970s.

Because of its warm temperatures, it is well known for growing red wine grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Merlot. The region is 81,000 acres in size and is home to nearly 10,000 acres of vineyards. Because of its remote location, there are few wineries there.

Here are 13 delicious wines that feature grapes from the Wahluke Slope. Ask for them at you’re favorite wine shop or contact the winery directly.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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