Lake Chelan Wine

Wine-Searcher editorial  ·  Last updated 08-Oct-2020
Vineyard of Lake Chelan
? Chelan Estate Winery

Lake Chelan is a wine region (AVA) which takes its name from a glacial lake at the heart of Washington State. It is located in the northwest corner of the vast Columbia Valley AVA, but has a very different terroir due to its elevation and volcanic origins. A wide range of grape varieties are grown here, including Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer.

The Lake Chelan AVA was granted in 2009, it covers roughly 24,000 acres (9,700ha) at the very southern end of the lake and surrounds the towns of Manson and Chelan. The surface of the lake is 1,100 feet (340m) above sea level, and vineyards stretch from its edge up into the surrounding hills to elevations of around 2,000 feet (610m).

Lake Chelan, at 55 miles (90km) long, is one of the largest (and deepest) glacial lakes in Washington. Its presence helps to moderate temperatures in the surrounding area, storing warmth over the summer and extending the growing season. This means that grapes have a longer hang-time and can develop phenolic ripeness while retaining important acidity. Moisture from the lake also helps to lessen the risk of damaging frosts. 

Soils found in the Lake Chelan AVA are quite distinct from those in the rest of the Columbia Valley. Due to the area's elevation and position, it was unaffected by the catastrophic Missoula floods of the last Ice Age that shaped the terrain in much of eastern Washington and Oregon. The main geological influence of the region was an eruption of Glacier Peak in the Cascade Mountains 12,000 years ago of which deposited ash and pumice throughout the area. Coarse, sandy soils in the AVA are made up of mica and quartz and offer excellent drainage for the vines, lessening vegetation growth creating small berries with a good concentration of sugar and acid. Vineyards here require irrigation as rainfall is sparse due to the rain shadow caused by the northern Cascade range.

The first grapes at Lake Chelan were grown by Native Americans in the late 19th Century. Italian and German settlers established vineyards. Grapevines were eventually replaced by cherries, apples and urban development, until a revival of sorts in the late 1990s due to the popularity of the region as a holiday destination. When Lake Chelan became an AVA in 2009, there were around 260 acres (105ha) of vineyards planted within the boundaries.

Lake Chelan Wines
Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Product
 
Grape
Popularity
Critics' Score
Avg. Price
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling Vodka, Lake Chelan, USA
72,404th in popularity
$ 26
Wine Label of Gramercy Cellars Antoine Creek Vineyard Viognier, Lake Chelan, USA
93,857th in popularity
$ 30
89 / 100
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling Local Choice Espresso Vodka, Lake Chelan, USA
105,876th in popularity
$ 43
Wine Label of Nefarious Cellars Defiance Vineyard Malbec, Lake Chelan, USA
121,316th in popularity
$ 40
88 / 100
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling Cherry Whisky, Lake Chelan, USA
127,670th in popularity
$ 62
Wine Label of Karma Vineyards Pink Bubbly, Lake Chelan, USA
143,406th in popularity
$ 58
89 / 100
Wine Label of Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards S&M, Lake Chelan, USA
151,977th in popularity
$ 25
88 / 100
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling 'Pepper Flavoured' Vodka, Lake Chelan, USA
172,943rd in popularity
$ 37
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling 'Peirates' Rum, Lake Chelan, USA
Rum
172,943rd in popularity
$ 40
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling 'Blue Wind' No 4 Gin, Lake Chelan, USA
Gin
202,527th in popularity
$ 50
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling 6 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey, Lake Chelan, USA
202,527th in popularity
$ 58
Wine Label of Wapato Point Cellars 'Harmony', Lake Chelan, USA
202,527th in popularity
$ 22
86 / 100
Wine Label of Nefarious Cellars Defiance Vineyard Estate Viognier, Lake Chelan, USA
202,527th in popularity
$ 23
88 / 100
Wine Label of Tildio Winery Tempranillo, Lake Chelan, USA
202,527th in popularity
$ 45
87 / 100
Wine Label of Karma Vineyards Methode Champenoise Blanc de Noir, Lake Chelan, USA
222,207th in popularity
$ 74
Wine Label of Lake Chelan Winery LCW 'Stormy Mountain' White, Lake Chelan, USA
222,207th in popularity
$ 25
87 / 100
Wine Label of Hard Row To Hoe Vineyards Syrah, Lake Chelan, USA
222,207th in popularity
$ 40
89 / 100
Wine Label of Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards Good in Bed Methode Champenoise Rose, Lake Chelan, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 56
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling Local Choice Pepper Vodka, Lake Chelan, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 7
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling 'Mango - Citrus Flavored' Vodka, Lake Chelan, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 37
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling Straight Indiana Bourbon Whisky, Lake Chelan, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 63
Wine Label of Tunnel Hill Winery Estate Bottled Riesling, Lake Chelan, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 26
84 / 100
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling 'Cucumber Flavoured' Vodka, Lake Chelan, USA
282,866th in popularity
$ 41
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling 'Grapefruit Flavoured' Vodka, Lake Chelan, USA
282,866th in popularity
$ 45
Wine Label of Blue Spirits Distilling Local Choice Lime Tequila, Lake Chelan, USA
282,866th in popularity
$ 45
To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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