Get to Know: Walla Walla Valley AVA
Recently voted “America’s Best Wine Region” (again!) by USA Today, Walla Walla rolls out the wine welcome mat with over 120 wineries and nearly 3,000 acres of vines. The esteemed Walla Walla Valley AVA is tucked into the greater Columbia Valley AVA and lies on the southern border of Washington state, with half of the designated appellation generously spilling over into Oregon’s winegrowing border. Historically, Italian immigrants first planted grapes in the Walla Walla Valley in the 1850s. Today Walla Walla enjoys the highest concentration of wineries in the state and is also host to some of the oldest wineries as well. In fact, our own Long Shadow’s Chihuly Tasting Room and winery is a proud member of the modern Walla Walla wine scene.
Well-drained soil structures and varied precipitation patterns have given the region a reputation for growing everything from apples to onions and strawberries to wheat. This rich farming legacy has embraced commercial winegrowing for over four decades.
With plenty of sun, elevations ranging from 400 feet to 2,000 feet, and infinitely varied soils, it’s not surprising that the Walla Walla Valley AVA is planted largely to red grapes with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah dominating the vineyards. It’s interesting to note, the latitude of Walla Walla Valley sits at 46° N, which when traced around the globe is the same latitude that lies halfway between the wine giants of Bordeaux and Burgundy. At Long Shadow’s Walla Walla fruit shows remarkable expression in our Chester Kidder red blend.
Want to check out Walla Walla for yourself? While there is no bad time to stop by, Walla Walla’s Fall Release Weekend (Nov. 5 & 6, 2022) is a fantastic time as not only us, but many of our friends, hold open houses and special events. Schedule a visit with us.
Walla Walla Valley AVA at a glance:
- Grapes planted: 1850s
- Designated as an AVA: 1984
- Vineyards: 2,933 total vineyard acreage with Washington’s acreage at 1,672
- Top Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot
- Average Annual Precipitation: 7-22 inches (higher precipitation in eastern AVA)
Long Shadow’s Walla Walla Wine Ambassador:
2018 Chester Kidder
This stout red blend showing 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Syrah, sources the Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the Summit
View Vineyards tucked in the Walla Walla AVA.
Photo and information source: Washington Wine