Established in 2012, the Ancient Lakes appellation is located in Central Washington. The area is wholly contained within the Columbia Valley region and is named after a series of thirty-five lakes that dot the area. Over 20 different vinifera varieties are planted in this region with white grapes the emphasis. Riesling is by far the most planted grape, with many of the plantings at Evergreen Vineyard. These wines display aromas and flavors of lime, lemon, and green apple and often have bright acidity and noticeable minerality.
The Ancient Lakes region has an arid, continental climate, receiving an average of 6 inches (15cm) of rainfall annually. Irrigation is therefore required to grow vinifera grapes.
Being more northerly than many of Washington’s growing regions, heat accumulation begins later in the Ancient Lakes and ends sooner, making it one of the cooler growing regions in the state.
Like most of eastern Washington’s growing regions, the soils are defined by the Missoula Floods, a series of cataclysmic events. 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.
White wine grapes represent the bulk of the grape plantings in the Ancient Lakes growing region. The white grapes are planted on the higher elevations (avg. 1200–1500’) along the Beezley Hills and the Evergreen and Babcock ridges.
- Growing season: 182 days
- Precipitation (annual average): < 8″ year
- Soil conditions: Quincy loam and windblown loess soils
- Total area: 162,762 acres
- Size of planted vineyards: Approx 1800 acres
- Primary Grapes produced: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot