Columbia Valley Wineries
There are a number of wine regions in the United States that are still relative newcomers in the grand scheme of things, but that is not something that can be said for the Columbia Valley in Oregon. The first grapes were planted on a southward-sloping hill back in the early 1900’s. Those same vines are still producing Zinfandel grapes to this very day, but the whole region has now expanded to a massive 11 million acres of land. The number of varietals being produced had now gone well beyond just Zinfandel, which means that there is a lot of tasting to be done at the wineries in Columbia Valley.
That huge patch of land is now spread between Oregon and Washington State, with the latter hosting the majority of the vines being grown. There are six sub-appellations in the region, stretching 200 miles long and 185 miles wide. The sheer size of the region can make it seem a little overwhelming to those looking to get a little Columbia Valley wine tasting down, which is why this is an area that may well require more than one visit. Since there are a number of different AVA’s operating within the Columbia valley, your best bet may be to choose one or two of those to visit at a time.
Another alternative is to visit Columbia Valley wineries that are close to other locations that you want to visit while you travel. For example, if your travels are going to take you north of the border to British Columbia, Canada, you will find some wineries that operate close to the Okanagan, allowing you to take in wine and wildlife in a single trip. The beauty of the size of this region is that it offers a multitude of different travel experiences. You can stick to the bigger, better known wineries, or you can take the road less traveled. It’s all up to you.
If you are looking for something a little faster paced and populated, you should take a look at the wineries in the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick) area. There are a total of 9 wineries in that area, with another 16 nearby in the Red Mountain appellation. That should be more than enough to whet your whistle on your first visit, and the location means that you will be spoiled for choices of places to stay, dine, and play.
While the Columbia Valley may be truly massive in scale, it may help you to look at the history of the region and use that as the starting point. If that is something that sounds appealing, then your trip through this wine country will start in Oregon at The Dalles. There is some excellent tasting to be done there, and you can use that as a jumping off point to plan out the rest of your journey. It’s a long road to travel, but it’s one that you will most certainly not regret taking at any time of the year.