Naches Heights: Established 2011

  • Naches Heights became the 12th AVA in Washington State in 2011
  • Currently there are about 40 acres planted to wine grapes in Naches Heights, but the AVA encompasses 13,254 acres in total.
  • The first grapes planted in the Naches Heights were Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Syrah in 2002.
  • Located within the Columbia Valley on an ancient volcanic bedrock plateau, Naches Heights is above the level of the Missoula Floods, at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 2,100 feet.
  • The boundaries of the Naches Heights are the Naches River to the north and east, Cowiche Creek to the south and west, and the lower Tieton River on the west.
  • The soil is comprised of windblown soil, also known as loess, which is heavy in clay and helps the soil to retain water. Around 10 to 13 inches of rain fall annually in the Naches Heights region. It is considered a cooler region for Washington State. 

Naches Heights is situated in south-central Washington, lying between the small towns of Naches and Tieton, northwest of the city of Yakima. The area is a sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley.

Naches Heights is a new grape growing region, with its first vinifera plantings in 2002. There were less than 40 acres under vine as of 2011 when the area received appellation status. Intriguingly, all of these vineyards are farmed either organically, biodynamically, or salmon-safe, with some a combination.

A million-year-old lava flow formed the region, which is 13,254 acres in size. The appellation is considerably raised from the surrounding area, with elevations ranging from 1,200 to 2,100 feet.

Naches Heights is a generally flat plateau, increasing gently in elevation from southeast to northwest. The elevation and gentle grade help colder air drain into lower lying areas, reducing the risk of frost damage.

Naches Heights is distinct from a number of Washington’s growing regions in that it is above the level of the Missoula Floods, a series of repeated, cataclysmic events that define the majority of Washington’s grape growing regions. Unlike these areas, which have alluvial soils, Naches Heights is all windblown soil, which continues to accumulate. The soil also contains a significant amount of clay, helping to retain water.

© 2014 Washington Wine