- Established in 2020, Candy Mountain sits to the southeast of Red Mountain and is within the Yakima Valley AVA and the larger Columbia Valley AVA.
- At 815 acres, Candy Mountain is the smallest AVA in Washington. There are currently 110 acres of vineyards, almost all of which are red varieties.
- Candy Mountain is part of a chain of four mountains in the area, which also include Red Mountain, Badger Mountain, and Little Badger Mountain.
- The AVA is located on an isolated mountain with excellent cold air drainage that rises above lower elevation plains.
- A very large percentage of the AVA faces to the south, enhancing solar radiation and allowing the soils to warm quickly in the spring.
- The soils, especially on the upper slopes, are shallower than those of the surrounding plains, allowing vine roots to penetrate to the underlying basalt bedrock or ice age flood deposits.
Candy Mountain is located in south-central Washington and is wholly contained within the Yakima Valley appellation.
At 815 total acres, Candy Mountain is Washington’s smallest viticultural region. Its vineyards are located on the southwestern side of the mountain, which has a slope of two to 20 degrees. Elevations in the appellation range from 640 to 1,360 feet above sea level, with the upper reaches above the Missoula Floods, a cataclysmic series of floods that define Columbia Valley soils.
Candy Mountain is part of a series of four mountains in the area, which also include Red Mountain, Badger Mountain, and Little Badger Mountain, that are collectively referred to as “the rattles” due to their alignment with the larger Rattlesnake Mountain. Candy Mountain is also part of the Yakima fold belt that comprises many of eastern Washington’s viticultural areas.
Candy Mountain lies four miles southeast of Red Mountain and generally has a similar, warm climate to that appellation. Like Red Mountain, it also has higher winds relative to the surrounding area.
The soils of Candy Mountain are composed of loess – windblown silt and sand – on top of ice age flood sediment. Soils are generally thin with decreased water holding capacity, allowing growers to stress vines as they see fit during the growing season. This also lets roots come into contact more easily with the basalt bedrock, with has a different suite of minerals than the topsoil.
Candy Mountain currently has 110 acres planted to vineyards, many of which are planted in a vineyard of the same name. There is currently one winery within the appellation.
Photo credit: Kevin Pogue