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Washington has 14 American Viticultural Areas, several of which have fascinating names. To wit:

Snipes Mountain—Named after cattle baron Ben Snipes who came to Washington in the 1850s in search of gold, but ended up striking it rich by grazing cattle and supplying beef to the mining camps.

Walla Walla—A Native American name meaning “place of many waters” after several small rivers that flow into the Columbia River.

Horse Heaven Hills—Ok, another cowboy tale. In 1857, when cowboy James Kinney witnessed his herd of horses eating native grasses on the hillside, he was so moved he decided to call the area “Horse Heaven.”

Red Mountain—It’s not a mountain and it’s not red (although you can drink some very nice red wine there). So named because of cheatgrass, a droopy reddish colored grain-like plant that grows all over the area.

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