Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, more commonly referred to as Quincy Basin, contains 162,762 acres of which approximately 1,400 are currently under vine. It is located within the Columbia Valley appellation and includes the towns of Quincy and George, with most of the appellation in Grant county, while portions lay in Douglas and Kittitas counties of WA. The three lakes that comprise Ancient Lake are at an elevation of 821 feet, one of the lowest areas of the appellation. Interstate 90 runs through the middle of the growing region.
The appellation is bounded by the Columbia River to the west; the Winchester Wasteway to the east; the Beezeley Hills to the north and the Frenchman Hills to the south. Elevations range from highs of 1,600 in the north to 1,900 feet in the south with considerably lower lying areas in the middle.
The area is well known for Chardonnay and Riesling as white grapes are favored. Reds are present in lesser amounts with plantings of Syrah, Pinot Noir, Bordeaux varieties, along withg other varietals.
65 different soils types have been identified in Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, all associated in some fashion with the historic Missoula Floods. The most common soils are fine sand, very fine sandy loam, silt loam and loamy fine sand. Geologic referrences site these soils as being wind blown replacement to the scraped away soils during the floods. These sandy soils provide excellent drainage.
The climate is decidely one of the cooler growing regions in Washington with heat arriving later and departing earlier than most regions. Located within 30 minutes of the Wahluke Slope, one of the warmest areas in Washington, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley actually ripens later, with all its white varietals.
Wines of Anciet Lakes of Columbia Valley display higher acidity levels than other regions and, with the reds, a greater tannic impact. 6 wineries currently exist within the new AVA along with 6 major commercial vineyards. Wine labels might start to be seen with the new AVA as soon as the 2012 vintage whites go to bottle in 2013.
Shake Ridge Ranch has set a standard for viticulture in Amador County and the incredible list of winemakers who now source fruit from the amazing vineyard above Sutter Creek tell it's story in every vintage and bottle produced.