New White Bluffs Wine Region will be North of Pasco

By Andy Perdue, Guest Contributor, Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

The Tri-Cities is philosophically and geographically in the heart of Washington wine country. And when the federal government approves a new American Viticultural Area north of Pasco, where some of the state’s oldest vines were planted nearly a half-century ago, the region’s position in the wine industry will be solidified.

The AVA system in the United States is used to distinguish unique wine grape growing regions, ranging in size from a single vineyard to millions of acres. Once approved, wineries can list the AVA designation on their labels to help build credibility, enhance value and as a marketing tool for wine that originates from that particular growing area.

Washington state has 14 AVAs, with the largest being the Columbia Valley, an 11-million-acre growing region spanning from central Washington to northeast Oregon. The White Bluffs AVA would be nested entirely within the Columbia Valley AVA, and its application was submitted in 2017 by Kevin Pogue, a geologist at Whitman College in Walla Walla. There would be 1,127 acres of vineyards within the 93,738 acres that would span the White Bluffs AVA.

Around the world, these grape-growing regions are known by different terms. In France, for instance, it is an appellation. In Italy, it is a Denomination of Controlled Origin, or DOC. In Canada and Australia, it is a Geographical Indication, or GI.

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