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Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA

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Country  United States
Precipitation (annual average)  < 8" year
Growing season  182 days
Year established  October 2012
Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA
Official name  Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley
Type  American Viticulture Area
Soil conditions  Quincy loam and windblown loess soils
Part of  Columbia Valley AVA, Washington wine

The Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA (referred to locally as the Ancient Lakes AVA) is an American Viticulture Area which lies on the western edge of the Columbia Basin near the town of Quincy in Washington State. The wine region is entirely included within the larger Columbia Valley AVA. Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley became the 13th AVA in Washington State on October 18, 2012.



Laying between the Beezley Hills to the North and the Frenchman Hills to the south, the growing region was severely impacted by the immense water flows of the Missoula floods. The scouring effect of the waters stripped the top soils down to the basalt and scoured out canyons referred to locally as “coulees” which are prominent features near many of the planted vineyards. The Columbia River forms the western border of the grape growing region.


Basalt and caliche rock are unique in their prominence of the soils in the grape growing areas. Missoula floods scoured the area stripping the original top soils along the western edge of the Quincy valley. Large standing pools of water left by the floods created thick deposits of caliche that lay over the basalt. With time, both rock types have fractured and are prominent in the soils. Quincy loam and windblown loess soils lay over the rocks.


The growing region lays close to the eastern most foothills of the Cascade Mountain range. A strong rain shadow effect gives the area one of the lowest precipitation rates in the Columbia Valley.

Grape growing

Deep in the heart of Washington Wine country, white wine grapes represent the bulk of the grape plantings in the growing region and are planted on the higher elevations (avg. 1200–1500’) along the Beezley Hills and the Evergreen and Babcock ridges.

White Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris are dominant plantings along with red varieties used for Rosé style wines

Red Wine Varieties are planted in close proximity to the Columbia River along the benches and exposed basalt cliffs formed by the “cataract effects” of the Missoula floods. This area lays at a lower elevation and is considerably warmer lending itself to red wine grape production including Syrah, Merlot and others.


  • Cave B Vineyards
  • Jones of Washington
  • Evergreen Vineyards
  • Ryan Patrick Vineyards
  • Spanish Castle Vineyards
  • White Heron Cellars
  • References

    Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA Wikipedia

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