Growers began establishing vineyards on Snipes Mountain and adjacent Harrison Hill between 1914 and 1917. The second oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Washington State have been rowing for some 40 years in vineyards on Harrison Hill. These vines have been producing award-winning wines for 15 years. On Snipes Mountain, the Upland Winery, which operated from 1934 to 1972, is being reestablished as a historic winery. Within the current 535 acres of vineyards in the viticultural area, a total of 25 varietals are grown. The boundary line of Snipes Mountain Viticultural area lies between the 750- to 20-foot elevation lines, thus encompassing the mountain from those elevations to its peak.
The USGS maps how that the viticultural area is on elevated terrain, and comprises vineyards, orchards, roads, trails, a reservoir, intermittent streams, gravel pits, buildings, and a winery. Snipes Mountain AVA is surrounded by generally flat Yakima Valley terrain that, in areas, dips to approximately 700 feet in elevation. The Yakima River flows adjacent to the southwestern portion of the Snipes Valley boundary line before turning to the south. At elevations below the 750-foot contour line the valley is flatter, and has ponds and other cold air sinks that are unsuitable for viticulture.
According to the written boundary description and USGS maps, Harrison Hill borders Snipes Mountain in the eastern portion of the Snipes Mountain AVA. The soils on Harrison Hill are similar to the dominant soils in the rest of the viticultural area. And the 132 acres on the south-facing slopes of Harrison Hill are suitable for successful viticulture and the vineyards on Harrison Hill 'are the most important acres we grow.' The distinguishing features of the proposed Snipes Mountain viticultural area include an elevated topography that is steep in places and a geologic history that contrasts with that of the surrounding Yakima Valley area. According to USGS and digital maps Snipes Mountain stands alone in the center of the wide Yakima Valley like the crown of a brimmed hat. The Snipes Mountain region comprises the Ellensburg Formation. This formation consists of alluvial outwash, the parent material of the unique soils in the Snipes Mountain region.
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