Washington wine country includes Horse Heaven Hills, south of Yakima Valley

Since the early 1970s, wine grapes have been grown in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills. Today, the region south of the Yakima Valley is one of the state’s largest and most important viticultural regions.

In 1972, Don Mercer planted cabernet sauvignon near the tiny community of Alderdale. Today, cabernet sauvignon is the most important variety in the region, with hundreds of new acres being planted each year, but other grape varieties — red and white — thrive too.

The federal government approved the Horse Heaven Hills American Viticultural Area in 2005. Today, more than 12,000 acres of wine grapes are grown there.

These six examples of wine from the Horse Heaven Hills won gold medals at the third annual Great Northwest Wine Competition, conducted in March. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.