East of the Cascade mountains lies the sunny and parched side of the state where the days are warm and the nights are cool--near perfect conditions for creating "balanced" wines.
The Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is the overarching appellation in eastern Washington, which when seen on a map looks something like a horse rearing up halfway out of the Columbia River. It is enormous, covering 11 million acres, and accounts for 99 percent of Washington's wine grape production.
The vineyards of the vast Columbia Valley share much in common in the way of climate, but there are significant differences and subtle variations that have led to the discovery of numerous microclimates and the official assignment of six sub-appellations (with more doubtlessly on the way): Walla Walla Valley, Yakima Valley, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope and Rattlesnake Hills. Wines that are labeled "Columbia Valley" might include grapes from throughout the region.