The confusing thing about this AVA is that there are two places called “The Gorge” in Washington State, and both are steep canyons cut by the Columbia River. However, they are located in two completely different places! The Columbia Gorge AVA is one of the smallest and newest, bordering the western edge of the Columbia Valley AVA.
Here the Cascade Mountains are bisected by the Columbia River as it runs through a very narrow passage, creating a wind tunnel effect. The appellation includes land across the river in Oregon, although the vineyards there are less influenced by the Cascade Mountains and are at lower elevations than those on the Washington side. Roughly 350 acres are planted, but the quality of the grapes being grown has caught the attention of winemakers from both states. On the Washington side, vineyards are on south-facing slopes above the river. Those closest to the mountains are among the few in the state that can be dry-farmed.
The most famous vineyard is Celilo, and it is particularly admired for its Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.
~ Paul Gregutt,
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