A look at the wine regions of Washington State

Columbia Valley

This large viticultural area, covering about 11 million acres with some 17,000 acres of vines, extends over a large part of central and southern Washington (and over the border slightly into Oregon). It lies at the same latitude as Bordeaux and Burgundy, with numerous soil types and microclimates, and grows all the usual suspects, with cabernet sauvignon and other Bordeaux grapes and, more surprisingly, the red Rhône varieties, doing particularly well.

Yakima Valley

Containing about two-thirds of the total vineyard acreage of the larger Columbia Valley AVA, this comparatively dry, warm region is best known for chardonnay, riesling, and pinot gris, though cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah also do well.

Walla Walla Valley


In southeastern Washington and a bit on northeastern Oregon, this up-and-coming wine region — also famous for its sweet onions — is the home of one of Washington's first cult wines, Leonetti Cellars cabernet sauvignon. In general, it is red wine country, with cabernet sauvignon predominating, and some quantities of merlot, cabernet franc, syrah, and sangiovese.