Naches Heights AVA | This became the 12th AVA in Washington State in 2011. Naches Heights is situated in south-central Washington, lying between the small towns of Naches and Tieton, northwest of the city of Yakima, in the Yakima Valley. The area is a sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley AVA. The first plantings of vinifera varieties was 2002: Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Syrah.

Boundaries | The boundaries of the Naches Heights are the Naches River to the north and east, Cowiche Creek to the south and west, and the lower Tieton River on the west.

Terroir | The appellation is considerably raised from the surrounding area, with elevations ranging from 365-640 metres (1,200 to 2,100 feet). Naches Heights comprises a million-year-old lava flow, a generally flat volcanic bedrock plateau west of Yakima town, increasing gently in elevation from southeast to northwest. The elevation and gentle grade help colder air drain into lower lying areas, reducing the risk of frost damage. Naches Heights is distinct from a number of Washington’s growing regions in that it is above the level of the Missoula Floods, a series of repeated, cataclysmic events that define the majority of Washington’s grape growing regions. Unlike these areas, which have alluvial soils, Naches Heights is all windblown soil (loess), which continues to accumulate. The soil also contains a significant amount of clay, helping to retain water. Around 25-33cm (10 to 13 inches) of rain fall annually in the Naches Heights region. It is considered a cooler region for Washington State. Paul Beveridge of Wilridge Winery & Vineyard (link below) is quoted by David Furer (01 Jan 2012) as saying that ‘while the large Columbia Valley AVA is characterised by river valleys shaped by the ancient Missoula floods, Naches Heights is located above on a million year old Andesite lava flow from the Cascade Mountains that was never inundated by the floods.’

Vineyard area | The AVA encompasses 5,327 hectares (13,165 acres) of land in total. / 2011 There were less than 16.2 hectares (40 acres) under vine as of 2011 when the area became and AVA.

Wineries

Certified Biodynamic | Wilridge Vineyard, Winery & Distillery.

Certified organic | Naches Heights Vineyard.

Bibliography

David Furer, ‘Two more AVAs approved’ published on decanter.com 01 Jan 2012.

Washington State Wine.