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Yakima Valley thrives as historical heart of Washington wine
The Yakima Valley is where the Washington wine industry got its start, as we like to say, “the cradle of the industry.”
There’s a ton of history in this valley, including:
- Walter Clore, “the father of Washington Wine,” lived and did much of his research here. His life is now celebrated at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser.
- William Bridgman, two-time mayor of Sunnyside, planted grapes here in 1914. He started Upland Winery after repeal of Prohibition, and it operated into the 1960s. If you know where to look, you can find his concrete fermentation tanks.
- In 1986, the first Syrah, planted in Washington went in the ground at Red Willow Vineyard.
- The oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the Pacific Northwest are at Otis Vineyard north of Grandview, planted in 1956.
- Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington’s largest and oldest winery, established its original winemaking facility in the town of Grandview.
- The Pacific Northwest’s first American Viticultural Area was the Yakima Valley, approved by the federal government in 1983.
Since then, several new AVAs have been carved out of the Yakima Valley, including:
- Red Mountain was approved in 2001.
- Rattlesnake Hills was approved in 2008.
- Snipes Mountain was approved in 2009.
The Yakima Valley is home to more 13,000 acres of vineyards and 60 wineries.
Here are a dozen wines made from Yakima Valley grapes. Ask for them at your favorite wine shop or contact the wineries directly.