Washington State hasn’t had a new AVA since 2016, yet now has two notable regions to add to the list with both the Royal Slope and Candy Mountain awarded AVA status this year.
The Royal Slope has produced a bevy of brilliant wines for years now and the new AVA covers a whopping 156,389 acres all within the larger Columbia Valley AVA. The AVA is located south of the Ancient Lakes AVA and north of the Wahluke Slope and encompasses the Frenchman Hills region, which is a 30-mile east-west running ridge of silt and loess soils on a south-facing slope. There are more than 1,900 acres of vines currently planted within this cooler, higher elevation AVA.
The Candy Mountain AVA is a much smaller region, covering just 815 acres located just beside Red Mountain and consists of steep, southeast facing slopes. The smallest AVA in the State, the soils vary depending on the location on the slopes, with the upper hillsides being more shallow and rocky, and the lower slopes consisting of more silt, sand, and gravel. This is a warmer, windy AVA that shares plenty of similarities to its neighbor, Red Mountain. While the Royal Slope is well known and has old vines, Candy Mountain is a hotbed of new development and new plantings.