Vineyards: 1,603 acres (648 hectares)
Top Varieties: Riesling and Chardonnay
Average Annual Precipitation: 6 inches
Named after series of thirty-five lakes that dot the area, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA is one of Washington’s more northerly appellations. For this reason, heat accumulation begins later and tapers off sooner. The appellation’s location also contributes to large diurnal swings that help lock in acidity.
The Ancient Lakes is one of the few appellations in Washington dominated by white varieties, specifically Riesling. However, there are over 20 different vinifera varieties planted in the region.
Like most of eastern Washington’s growing regions, the soils are defined by the Missoula Floods. While soils vary considerably across the appellation, fine sand along with silt and sandy loam are predominant. Some sites, such as Evergreen Vineyard, have significant deposits of caliche, which is rich in calcium carbonate.
The Ancient Lakes is wholly contained within the Columbia Valley appellation. The majority of the Ancient Lakes appellation has a gentle slope of less than 4% going toward its eastern boundary. The Columbia River, which defines the appellation’s western boundary, protects many of the areas from early and late season frost, which can affect nearby regions.