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Washington Wine Country adds Rocky Reach American Viticulture area

Rocky Pond Estate Winery and the New Rocky Reach AVA


The New Region is Exclusively Home to Rocky Pond Estate Winery’s Rocky Reach Vineyard

Rocky Pond Estate Winery, the Washington producer crafting wines from their breathtaking sustainably farmed riverside and lakeside vineyards in the Columbia River Valley, recently received good news when their Flagship Double D Vineyard and Rocky Reach Estate Vineyard received approval by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Rocky Reach will be Washington’s twentieth AVA.

“We are extremely pleased to see this return on our efforts,” stated Owners and Founders David and Michelle Dufenhorst. “This is an essential step towards recognizing what we’ve known for some time – that this is a remarkable place to grow and produce quality vines and wines.”

The Rocky Reach AVA will encompass over 32,333 acres (50 square miles) along the Columbia River. The AVA takes its name from the Rocky Reach Dam and the Rocky Reach Reservoir (also known as Lake Entiat). Steamboat captains first applied the name “Rocky Reach” to the region in the late 1800’s, to describe the rapids within a stretch, or “reach”, of the Columbia River. This new AVA will follow the Columbia River from Wenatchee north to Lake Chelan. Unlike its surrounding wine region, however, Rocky Reach possesses a unique combination of topography, soils, and climate — all of which call for a singular AVA designation.

These characteristics derive from a fascinating geologic history. Rocky Reach AVA consists of crystalline basement rocks which are silica rich due to the mica and quartz minerals. This is in contrast to the existing Columbia Valley AVA which is 95% basalt.

Lake Entiat

The soils were formed from wind-deposited sand and silt overlying cobblestone gravel and sand deposited by ice-aged floods. The prolific, stony surfaces warm quickly, and the hot stones radiate and retain daytime heat to the vines and promote faster and more complete ripening. The gravels within Rocky Reach were deposited approximately 18,800 years ago by gigantic floods. The new AVA envelopes several gently sloping terraces, but hovers below the surrounding highlands at elevations of no more than 1,600 feet.

Unlike the areas upstream in the Columbia Valley, Rocky Reach was never glaciated. Rocky Reach contains no glacial till nor erratic rocks and its landforms have not been shaped by erosion of ice. 

David Dufenhorst believes that this area is an undiscovered gem in the state of Washington. The unique amalgam of climate and geology within Rocky Reach is ideal for grape growing, bolstered by a long growing season of more than 150 days on average and lower riverside elevation. The Rocky Reach AVA officially recognizes the outstanding capacity of such a rare combination of characteristics.

Rocky Pond operates two tasting rooms – one in Chelan and the other in Woodinville – for wine, culinary, travel enthusiasts and members looking to experience their high-quality wines and impeccable service. Reserve a table today at www.rockypondwinery.com.


About Rocky Pond Estate Winery
Rocky Pond Estate Winery was established in 2013 by David and Michelle Dufenhorst. The winery itself takes its name from the tumbled granite stones found on their estate vineyards located in one of the most awe-inspiring regions of the Columbia River Valley.

Regionally, Rocky Pond Estate Winery is making a name for itself as a high-quality Washington winery that is focused on producing Bordeaux and Rhone-style wines that showcase the truly unique terroir of their sustainably farmed riverside estate vineyards deeply rooted in the soils of the geographic wonder that is the Columbia River Valley.

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