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Saturday, Mar. 14, 2009

Washington: Wahluke Slope

Approved in early 2006, this huge landform north of the Yakima Valley is an 81,000-acre gravel bar created by the Ice Age Floods. More than 5,000 acres are planted in this AVA, which is one of the warmest regions in the entire Pacific Northwest. It was established in 2006.

Notable Wahluke Slope vineyards

Milbrandt Vineyards: Brothers Jerry and Butch Milbrandt farm 550 acres of vineyards on the Wahluke Slope and in the George area. Their most famous operations are on the Wahluke Slope, especially their Katherine Leone, Clifton and Clifton Hill vineyards. They grow 20 red and white varieties on the west end of the appellation, an area that rivals Red Mountain as the warmest grape-growing region in Washington. More than two-dozen winemakers rely on Milbrandt grapes, which are harvested from late August through mid-October. Milbrandt Vineyards typically receives between 3,000 and 3,300 heat units annually.