Established in 2004
Includes areas in Washington State and Oregon with more than 20 wineries.
Area of Columbia Gorge AVA is 191,000 acres, approximately 300 square miles.
- Approximately 500 planted acres of vinifera.
- Located within a National Scenic Area, sixty miles east of Portland/Vancouver.
- The Columbia Gorge wine region is defined by the Columbia River Gorge, a narrow passage that marks the dramatic transition from eastern desert to cool maritime climate as the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountain Range on its way to the Pacific Ocean.
- The region encompasses the corridor flanking the river in both Washington and Oregon and includes the Columbia Gorge and the southwestern part of the Columbia Valley American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
- Within the compact area of the Columbia Gorge lays an extraordinary combination of climate, soil and geology creating distinctly different “micro-climates” perfect for growing premium grapes of almost every variety from Albarino to Zinfandel.
- Passing through the Columbia Gorge from west to east, the rainfall diminishes at almost an inch per mile while sunshine increases dramatically.
- Western vineyards have a cool, marine influenced climate where it rains 40 inches a year -- ideal for cool-weather loving varietals like Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling.
- Eastern vineyards have a continental high desert climate with just 10 inches of annual rainfall but plentiful sunshine to ripen hot-weather Bordeaux, Rhone and Italian varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel and Barbera.
- Soils vary just as dramatically as the rain and sunshine; from red from old volcanic mudstone to gray showing fragments of basalt rock.
- Vineyard altitudes vary from near sea level to close to 2000’.
Images of the Columbia Gorge
hood mt & vineyard /_assets/managed/images/8694_14wyeasthoodthr72_sara_mcallister.jpg
Columbia River view /_assets/managed/images/8695_Col_River_View_Marie_Cordell.JPG
Grapes on vine /_assets/managed/images/8696_Grapes7_thepines_jim_semlor.jpg
vineyard & river /_assets/managed/images/8697_GunkelRiver_marie_cordell.jpg
swing vines /_assets/managed/images/8699_swing_vines_michael_thornburg.JPG
mt hood 2 /_assets/managed/images/8698_mthood_oakridge_michael_thornburg.JPG
sunny vineards /_assets/managed/images/8700_wyeastvineyards_001_86551.jpg
1. Sara McCallister
2,4. Marie Cordell
3. Jim Semlor
5. Michael Thornburg
WASHINGTON WINE 101: