Horse Heaven Hills AVA
Wow, there is a whole lot of space in the Horse Heaven Hills. I must admit I was somewhat stunned by the immense openness. Since Milly, the dog, was sound asleep in the front seat, I felt, at times, like the last person on earth.
Enough of that. The Horse Heaven Hills are mesmerizing. It is beautiful country – just endlessly open. Established as an official AVA in 2005, this big, empty space houses a whopping twenty-five percent of all of Washington State’s vineyard acreage. Proudly, the grapes of Washington’s four 100-point wines came from Horse Heaven Hills. Therefore, this out-of-the way appellation is worth seeking.
Where is Horse Heaven Hills? It is located just north of the Columbia River, centered on the tiny town of Paterson (pop. 222) in Benton County. The area is dotted with more than thirty wineries, a few without a tasting room onsite.
However, Vintner’s Village in Prosser, WA has brought those vineyards with no tasting room to you! This nifty area, at exit 80 along I-82, is a collection of gorgeous tasting rooms showcasing ten superb local wineries. The tasting rooms are all connected with footpaths, full of flowers, landscaped lawns, and picnic areas. It is worth seeking out.
Due to the high elevations, long days of sun and heat, and exposure, Horse Heaven Hills supports a variety of grapes. Some common varietals are: Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and Tempranillo.
Plan your own trip. Horse Heaven Hills will not disappoint.