Jump to content

Horse Heaven Hills AVA

Coordinates: 45°57′44″N 119°36′24″W / 45.9623524°N 119.6067541°W / 45.9623524; -119.6067541
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Horse Heaven Hills
Wine region
TypeAmerican Viticultural Area
Year established2005[1]
Years of wine industry52[1]
CountryUnited States
Part ofWashington, Columbia Valley AVA
Other regions in Washington, Columbia Valley AVAAncient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA, Candy Mountain AVA, Goose Gap AVA, Naches Heights AVA, Lake Chelan AVA, Rattlesnake Hills AVA, Red Mountain AVA, Rocky Reach AVA, Royal Slope AVA, Snipes Mountain AVA, The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA, Wahluke Slope AVA, Walla Walla Valley AVA, White Bluffs AVA, Yakima Valley AVA
Climate regionContinental/maritime
Soil conditionsquick-draining silty loam
Total area570,000 acres (891 sq mi)[1]
Size of planted vineyards6,040 acres (2,444 ha)[1]
No. of vineyards20[1]
Grapes producedBarbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin blanc, Grenache, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Riesling, Roussanne, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Zinfandel[2]
No. of wineries11[2]
Wine producedVarietal, Dessert wine, Meritage, Sparkling wine

Horse Heaven Hills is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in southeastern Washington lying in portions of Klickitat, Yakima, and Benton counties, north and west of the Columbia River and south of the Yakima Valley and lies within the vast Columbia Valley appellation. Horse Heaven Hills was established by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau {TTB), Treasury on June 30, 2005 after reviewing the petition filed by Paul D. Lucas on behalf of regional wine grape growers. Horse Heaven Hills viticultural area is about 60 miles (97 km) long and 22 miles (35 km) wide located 115 miles (185 km) east from Vancouver, Washington. The appellation encompasses 570,000 acres (891 sq mi) with about 6,400 acres (2,590 ha) under vine.

Horse Heaven Hills borders the Yakima Valley AVA to the north and the Columbia River to the south. Its elevations vary from 200 feet (61 m) above sea level at its southern boundary to 1,800 feet (549 m) at the northern boundary. Grapes planted in its south-facing slopes benefit from strong westerly winds via the Columbia Gorge, reducing botrytis or mildew issues and thickens grape skins producing fruit with a higher skin-to-juice ratio.[1][2]


Growers have raised grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills region since 1972, when Don Mercer planted a 5 acres (2 ha) parcel of Cabernet Sauvignon at Phinny Hill Vineyards. Between 1978 and 1981, Stimson Lane planted 2,000 acres (809 ha) in Paterson, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Grenache grapes. By the mid 1980s, commercial wine production included the Mercer Ranch Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon, and St. Michelle’s Gewurztraminer, Grenache Rose, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Plantings continued from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s in the Horse Heaven Hills region, and greatly accelerated after the vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills survived the hard freeze of 1996, which destroyed much of Washington State’s grape crop. As of 2002, there are at least 20 vineyards, with over 6,400 acres (2,590 ha) under vine, plus four commercial wineries within the region.[1]


Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Horse Heaven Hills AVA is home to the single largest wine making facility in Washington, the Columbia Crest Winery owned by Chateau Ste. Michelle in Paterson. Alexandria Nicole Cellars has a 267 acres (108 ha) at Destiny Ridge Vineyards.

The AVA is also home to Zephyr Ridge Vineyard, which produces grapes for many wineries in Washington, including Hogue Cellars and Swiftwater Cellars.[3][4]


Some of Washington's cult wines are produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in this AVA including the 2002 and 2003 Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon, which scored the rare 100 point rating from Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate.[5] Only 15 other wines in the US have received this designation, all made from California grapes.[6] Only five other previous vintages have received consecutive perfect scores in The Wine Advocate's publishing history.[7] The Quilceda Creek wines were blends with grapes from three Red Mountain AVA vineyards and one Horse Heaven Hills AVA vineyard.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Establishment of the Horse Heaven Hills Viticultural Area (2002R–103P)" (27 CFR 9 [T.D. TTB–28; Re: Notice No. 27] RIN 1513–AA91 Final Rule). Federal Register. 70 (126). Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau {TTB), Treasury: 38004–38009. July 1, 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 18, 2023.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b c "Horse Heaven Hills (AVA): Appellation Profile". Appellation America. 2007. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2008.
  3. ^ "Zephyr Ridge Vineyard". Thurston Wolfe Winery. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  4. ^ Perdue, Andy; Degerman, Eric (February 13, 2019). "Northwest Wine: Prosser showcases history in heart of Yakima Valley". Yakima Herald-Republic. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  5. ^ Parker, Tom (September 1, 2002). Discovering Washington Wines: An Introduction to One of the Most Exciting Premium Wine Regions. Seattle, Wash: Raconteurs Press. p. 85. ISBN 0-9719258-5-2.
  6. ^ Allison, Melissa (May 5, 2006). "Cup of cheer overflows for Snohomish vintners". Seattle Times.
  7. ^ "Snohomish winery makes state history". Seattle Times. May 3, 2006. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  8. ^ "2002 Offerings". Quilceda Creek Vintners. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.

External links[edit]

45°57′44″N 119°36′24″W / 45.9623524°N 119.6067541°W / 45.9623524; -119.6067541