Columbia Gorge


Columbia Gorge The Columbia Gorge AVA was granted AVA status in 2004, but it still seems to be an “under the radar” vineyard area. The AVA includes land close to the Columbia River right at the spine of the Cascade mountains, including vineyards in both Oregon and Washington.

The Columbia Gorge Wine Region is affectionately referred to as “A World of Wine in 40 Miles” due to it’s unique topography and climatic changes. In this 40 mile stretch encompassing both sides of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington, an extraordinary combination of climates, soils, elevation and geology combine to produce some of the best and most varied grape varietals in the Pacific Northwest.

A great transition occurs between the alpine forests of Underwood Mountain to the deserts of the eastern side, and the latitudes are shared with some of the finest wine growing regions of Europe, including Bordeaux, Rhone Valley and most of Italy.

The Columbia Gorge is part of two AVAs, including the western edge of the Columbia Valley AVA and encompassing all of the Columbia Gorge AVA. In the Gorge, the Cascade Mountain range restricts the grand Columbia River into a narrow passage.

This mountain range runs north into British Columbia, and south to California, creating a drastic climate difference as rains and clouds from the Pacific move inland and get hung up on the mountains. Hence, the areas on the western border see much more rain than the deserts of the eastern border, with rainfall diminishing more than one inch per mile moving East.

Soils deposited from ice age floods and volcanic eruptions define the geology. The river canyon acts as a corridor for cool marine winds, which is why the Columbia Gorge is known worldwide as a premier windsurfing and kiting playground. And the two crowning beauties, Mt Hood and Mt Adams, create vertical elevations that allow for a huge range of grapes to be grown with success.