Ancient Lakes important for Washington white wines

By on September 24, 2017
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Several of the Columbia Basin's Ancient Lakes near Quincy, Wash., are found in the canyon between Evergreen Vineyard and Ancient Lakes Vineyard, and both plantings belong to Milbrandt brothers.

Several of the Columbia Basin’s Ancient Lakes near Quincy, Wash., are found in the canyon between Evergreen Vineyard and Ancient Lakes Vineyard, and both plantings belong to Milbrandt brothers. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Since 2012, the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley has been a federally designated American Viticultural Area – the 13th in Washington. Entirely within the vast, arid Columbia Valley, the Ancient Lakes is around the Columbia Basin towns of George and Quincy. It has a reputation as a cool growing area.

It embraces this reputation, with some of the state’s best Chardonnays, Rieslings, and Sauvignon Blancs coming from the Ancient Lakes.

The name comes from the small, pothole lakes that dot the region, a remnant of the Ice Age floods the carved out the region between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago. It has been a popular hiking and recreational area for decades. Thanks to basalt cliffs, it is a dramatic landscape.

Such vineyards as Evergreen, Spanish Castle, Cave B, Ancient Lakes, Two Gun and more are relied upon by dozens of producers across Washington. Some fruit is going to Idaho winemakers as a result of the winter kill that’s crippled the 2017 vintage in the Snake River Valley.

Here a few examples of wines made from Ancient Lakes fruit. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries 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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