Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
This year grape growers, winemakers and consumer alike will join in the celebration of the Yakima Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) 30th anniversary. Established in 1983 the federal government designated the Yakima Valley as the first winegrowing appellation north of California. Across the following three decades, the Yakima Valley wine industry has consistently justified its status as the “first growth” of Washington State.
From the earliest vintages until today, the Yakima Valley has grown more wine grapes for Washington wineries than any other appellation. Simultaneously, it has cultivated most of the best wine in the region, since award-winning wineries from Woodinville to Walla Walla to the Willamette Valley have grown to greatness through their use of Yakima Valley grapes. The great grapes grown in Yakima Valley are the key ingredient to more than half of all the wine produced throughout Washington State, making it the backbone of the Washington wine industry. Most wineries here are small family operations where unpretentious hospitality is the norm. Many are located within a rural countryside with unparalleled beauty. You can enjoy a glass of wine while gazing at the beautiful snow capped Mt. Adams or overlook the diverse agricultural abundance of the Yakima Valley.
Winery hopping in the Yakima Valley is an unforgettable journey of delightful discovery. Across this sun-soaked region, magnificent vineyards, trellises laden with rich grape varietals, lie in the same latitude as the great wine producing regions of France. “The coming year is a special one for the Pacific Northwest wine industry,” said Barbara Glover, executive director of Wine Yakima Valley, the official association of Yakima Valley wineries and growers. “We’re celebrating the confluence of conditions that has made the Yakima Valley so important to the regional wine industry: this valley is the first AVA in Washington State; this valley is home to the most vineyard acreage in Washington State; and this valley fuels the best wine labels across the state and beyond.” She added, “I encourage everyone to enjoy the compelling simplicity of having ‘first, most, and best’ in one appellation: Yakima Valley. Glover commented that the local wine industry will be making the most of this 30th anniversary throughout 2013. “We’re planning remote master classes about the AVA for selected members of the media; we’ll be conducting great tasting seminars for the public; there will be a summer vineyard tour; and we’ll host members of the trade and press for informative and fun tours across the appellation.” She concluded, “In all, everyone will see that 30 years is worth celebrating—and that 13 is a very lucky number.”
For more information: Visit the Wine Yakima Valley website