An Introduction to the Lake Chelan American Viticultural Area (AVA)

Although we have produced wine in the Lake Chelan region for more than one hundred years, the Lake Chelan AVA is still relatively new. “AVA” stands for “American Viticultural Area” and is a federally designated region of wine production. This label marks Lake Chelan as one of 238 recognized AVAs, which are approved and regulated for their own unique soils and products.

Bring on the heat!

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Will the grapes survive the winter?

Yes! Can you believe it? It can get pretty chilly up here in the wintertime, so we understand the question. Yet with nearly thirty independent wineries along our shores, we are certainly comfortable with the fortitude of our vines. It’s the “lake effect,” in fact: Lake Chelan itself helps regulate the temperatures during growing season, and staves off frost by radiating the heat collected in the warmer months. Other vineyards of Eastern Washington, for this reason, have much less success in keeping their plants alive through the seasons.

Cheers to the weekend 🍾

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How is the Lake Chelan AVA unique?

While the jury’s still out on the exact factors that lead to the “AVA” stamp, differentiation is almost definitely one of them! There are growing regions with similar soils and environments. But the individual AVA must possess something uniquely its own. On Lake Chelan — again — our greatest distinction is the lake effect! Lake Chelan is the largest in the state of Washington, and its great regulation of temperatures for our vineyards means that the grapes get to spend more time on the vine. Sugars become richer without becoming overbearing, acids stay balanced, and the phenols develop greater “complexity.” Our higher elevation here even means unique soils and chemical nutrients.

Okay, so where to start?

Welcome to the exciting world of wine in the Lake Chelan AVA — we’re happy to have you. Here you’ll find a list of wineries near our Lake Chelan resort hotel and here is the Lake Chelan Wine Valley’s website, where you can find even more information as well as an updated list of events related to the AVA. Will we see you at Lakeside Lodge & Suites this year? Whether you’re planning for a visit six months from now or in a week, take a look at our current special offers. We’ve always got something going! Find us on Facebook and Instagram in the mean time, where we share our daily life from this special corner of the Cascades.

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