Searching for robust wines from a region that produces more than 35 different wine grape varieties? Washington’s Snipes Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA) grows outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Semillon, Syrah, and many more. It is also where the first wine grapes planted in Washington (Muscat) were started in the ground, back in the early 1900s. The wines from the small AVA are as flavorful as they are unique, and once you try them you will be back for more. (More than 20 other Washington wineries purchase grapes from this wine region to make their own wines.) For more information on the Snipes Mountain AVA, see below.
History. Snipe Mountain is named for the pioneer who built his home at the foot of the Yakima Valley mountain in the 1850s. The petition to create this Washington AVA was filed by Upland Vineyards, a vineyard that was planted in 1917. Snipes Mountain was approved as an AVA in 2009, Washington’s tenth AVA. It consists of over 4,000 acres with 665 acres of vineyards, and is the second smallest AVA in the state (only Red Mountain is smaller.) Snipes Mountain is encompassed completely by the Yakima Valley AVA, which is in turn encompassed by the Columbia Valley AVA. This Washington AVA is named after its prominent landmark, but also includes Harrison Hill, where Washington’s second oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines were first planted.
Climate and Soil. This Washington AVA has a warm, dry climate, attributable to its location in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains. Its elevations range from 750 to 1,300 feet. Snipes Mountain has a unique, ancient soil which is very rocky (gravel the size or your fist or larger) and makes for excellent drainage.
Vineyards and Wineries. There is only one winery (currently) in the Snipes Mountain AVA, but there are many wineries that purchase grapes from this Washington wine region to create their own wines. Below is information on some recommended wines created from the grapes of the Snipes Mountain AVA.
Upland Estates Winery. Established in 1934, this is the only winery currently operating in the Snipes Mountain AVA. It was also the first Washington winery to commercially produce unfortified wine out of European grape varieties. Try their 2007 Upland Estates Old Vine Cabernet, a Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of violets and raspberries, followed by flavors that include mocha, spice and oak. Also try their 2007 Upland Estates Malbec, a flavorful wine has flavors of pomegranate and blueberries. For more information on this Snipes Mountain AVA, click here.
Harrison Hill Vineyards. As noted above, these vineyards, planted in 1961, have the second oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Washington. DeLille Cellars, a small winery in Woodinville, Washington, uses grapes from this Snipes Mountain vineyard to create several outstanding wines. Its 2008 Harrison Hills, which has aromas of black cherries, and flavors that include raspberries and red currant, is excellent. Their 2005 Harrison Hill is also outstanding, with aromas of pepper and strawberries followed by flavors of vanilla and oak. For more about these wines or to order, click here.