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Washington Wine confirms Royal Slope as new AVA

Published:  09 September, 2020

The Washington State Wine Commission has confirmed Royal Slope as a new AVA. 

Situated wholly within the Columbia Valley AVA, the Royal Slope AVA comprises a total of 156,389 acres. 

It is located just to the south of the Ancient Lakes AVA, and to the north of the Wahluke Slope AVA, with the area encompasses Frenchman Hills, a 30-mile long east-west trending ridge with a gentle to medium-steep south-facing slope.

There are more than 1,900 acres of wine grapes currently planted within the AVA, producing more than 20 varieties. The majority of the area's soils are formed of windblown silts or ‘loess’.

“Many of our wineries and grape growers have been championing the terroir of Royal Slope for a long time, so it’s thrilling for them to be able to put an official AVA name on the bottle,” said Steve Warner, president of the Washington State Wine Commission.

Alan Busacca PhD, who co-wrote the AVA petition, added: “The area of the AVA is large enough that the variation in soils, slopes and aspect allows for a wide range of grape varieties to be matched to specific sites, soils, and training methods, producing wine grapes of exceptional quality and distinction. 

“In a short period of time, vineyards like Stillwater Creek, Lawrence, Frenchman Hills and more have been producing wines that are absolutely rocking people’s worlds. Royal Slope has jumped onto the wine map very quickly based on exceptional fruit character and quality.”

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published the final rule for Royal Slope on 2 September, 2020, to officially define it as a designated wine grape-growing region.

To qualify as an AVA, a wine grape-growing region must be distinguishable by features such as climate, soil, elevation and physical features.

One month after the final rule is published, wineries may submit a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) request to the TTB for a label using the AVA name as an appellation of origin.

In January, the Washington State Wine Commission was announced that UK bound exports of wines from Washington State had jumped 37% in the past five years.