Pacific Rim
November 2, 2022 | wine | Pacific Rim

NEW: Washington State's AVA

Exciting news for Washington state and wine lovers everywhere! Washington’s wineries are attracting more and more of the national spotlight. Just recently, Rocky Reach became the State's 20th American Viticultural Area (AVA), which means that it is officially designated a wine grape growing region. There’s a new AVA in Washington! Washington state AVA approvals recognize the quality of grapes grown and wine produced in the region.


The new AVA in Washington, Rocky Reach, is located between Wenatchee and Chelan, and it closely follows the Columbia River. It is an area contained within the larger Columbia Valley, which is famous for its wines and wineries. The total Washington state AVA covers more than 32,000 acres in Rocky Reach and makes up about 25 percent of the area. Currently, there are eight major commercial vineyards that cover 117 of these acres. Located within the greater Columbia Valley, Rocky Reach uniquely covers vineyards that are located at low elevations.

Rocky Reach derives its name from the Rocky Reach reservoir and Rocky Reach Dam, and some historians suggest that the name most likely originated in the late 1800s to describe the rapids within “reach” of the Columbia River.


In order to be graded as an AVA, the wine grape growing region must have certain key features that include the region’s soil, geology, climate, and topography. Unlike other areas of the Columbia Valley, Rocky Reach has unique geology that is predominantly granitic bedrock. In addition to the windblown sand and silt, the soil in Rocky Reach also overlies gravel and cobblestones. As far as the topography is concerned, Rocky Reach is located in an area of the Columbia River where the fast-running waters have eroded the landscape, creating a deep canyon. Within these canyons are flat-topped terraces on both sides of the river basin, which make the place ideal for viticulture. Finally, Rocky Reach has a very favorable climate for grape growing. With its low elevation, it has a warm and long growing season. 


For the state of Washington, approval of the state’s 20th Washington state AVA is an important milestone as it reflects the region's continued growth and vitality of the wine industry. For years, Washington state winegrowers have been pushing for more national recognition for their world-class wines and, finally, it looks like the recent recognition of Rocky Reach as the state’s new AVA in Washington has paid off.

Pacific Rim's vineyards are in the Yakima and Horse Heaven Hills AVAs, both of which are in the greater Columbia Valley AVA. The soil we grow from was shaped by the Missoula Floods and the bedrock is basalt, with wind-blown loess. This combination is perfect to produce a complex Riesling.

Pacific Rim & Company has long recognized the wine potential in the state of Washington, offering many fine wines from the region. Find out what we have known for a long time. Check out our wines and/or call to speak with one of our local experts today at 1-503-863-5454.


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