Washington's first appellation, Yakima Valley has over one third of the state's vineyards. The rolling foothills of the Cascades give the vines a good sun angle, so grapes are well-ripened come harvest time. Merlot dominates the plantings here, creating elegant wines with complex fruit, herbs & structure. Syrah continues to grow in popularity, creating blanced wines with spicy black fruit.
A few smaller, but notable appellations that lie within or just outside of Yakima Valley include:
Rattlesnake Hills, which gained AVA status in 2006, lies in the north with 17 wineries.
Horse Heaven Hills, another recent sub-appellation hugs the south end of Yakima and is known for its outstanding vineyard sites that create incredible and collectible red wines.
Red Mountain, known for its intense and delicious reds, is located on the eastern side of Yakima Valley.