Location: Central Washington
Designated: 2012
Total Size: 162,762 acres
Acreage Under Vine:
1,604 (649 hectares)
Top Varieties:
Soils:  Fine sand along with silt and sandy loam 
Average Annual Precipitation: 6 inches

Two Things to Know:

  •  One of the only appellations in Washington planted more to white varieties than red. 
  • Its northern location and higher elevation affect the resulting wines.  

The Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley is located in central Washington. It is wholly contained within the larger Columbia Valley appellation.  Named after a series of thirty-five lakes that dot the area, the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley is one of Washington’s more northerly appellations. 

Map of Washington with the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA in red, surrounded by the rest of the AVAs in muted greens and oranges.

Many vineyards are also located at slightly higher elevations compared to the broader Columbia Valley. 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 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.

AVA //