According to those in the know, great wines are coming out of a new wine region, the "Columbia Cascades". Publications including Wine Press NW and Wine Spectator have given 90+ and "Outstanding" scores to wines from the region.
Fielding Hills and Ryan Patrick wineries are two outstanding examples of the wineries being established in the Columbia Cascades Region. Felding Hills received 91 points from Wine Spectator for their first Cabernet Sauvigon, and 90 points for their "Riverbend Red" blend. Ryan Patrick has produced two wines, a Chardonnay and a Red Blend,
The Columbia Cascade region is a new viticultural area developing in North Central Washington. Although there were wineries in this region before prohibition, it was not until 1980 that grapes began to reappear in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and along the region's lakes and rivers. Currently there are over 800 acres of vinifera grapes and fifteen wineries, with more vineyards and wineries in development.
A new wine region has appeared amongst the rivers, lakes, and mountains of North Central Washington. Bordered by the towering Cascade Mountains on the west and sagebrush covered hills on the east, vineyards and their attendant wineries are rapidly appearing throughout the area.
The winemakers of this area have banded together in the belief that the influence of the Cascade Mountains and the broad rivers and lakes makes the region unique amongst Washington State’s winegrowing areas. In recognition of this they are calling the area the Columbia Cascade region.
There are currently ten wineries producing top quality wine in the Columbia Cascade region. There are six more slated to open in the near future and many others in the development stage.
The varieties being grown and bottled include familiar varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, as well as less well-known varieties such as Roussanne. The wines range from the driest of the dry to sweet complex late harvest and ice wines.
The Columbia Cascade area includes Grant County north of Interstate 90, Douglas, Chelan, and Okanogan Counties. There is a wide range of climates and soils throughout the area.
The common influence throughout the region is the Cascade Mountains. The mountains maintain dormancy during the winter thanks to cold air descending from high altitudes. At the same time many sites are frost free from April 1 through October 31, ample time to ripen even the most demanding grape varieties.
Touring the beautiful valleys of the Columbia Cascade area provides constant variation in scenery. Water is constant throughout, with rivers and lakes everywhere.
From lush forests in the west to sagebrush in the south to mixed sagebrush and pine in the north, the eye is always rewarded with beauty. Recreational opportunities abound; water skiing, snow skiing, snowmobile riding, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, nationally recognized golf courses, or just plain relaxing. Lodging in Chelan, Leavenworth, Soap Lake, Wenatchee, and Winthrop can range from budget to luxury, from quaint to stunning views of great beauty.