Bounded on the north by the ridge of the hills forming the southern border of the Yakima Valley, and on the south by the Columbia River, the 570,000 acre Horse Heaven Hills AVA benefits from its unique location in several ways.
Most vineyards are planted on south-sloping hills above the river, with sandy, well-drained soils. They are whipped almost daily by winds blowing steadily from the west via the Columbia Gorge. The extreme winds reduce the risks of fungal diseases, thicken grape skins and concentrate juices.
Currently, the Horse Heaven Hills AVA includes just five wineries, but one of them, Columbia Crest, is the state’s largest. There are some 6040 acres of wine grapes planted — roughly a fifth of the state’s bearing acreage, and sizeable new plantings continue to go in. This is viewed as one of the most promising, and productive grape growing regions in the entire Columbia valley. Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and especially Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars here, and some of the oldest Cabernet vines on the west coast are grown in the Horse Heaven Hills.
~ Paul Gregutt
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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