Columbia Valley was the first AVA in Washington State.
Ok Washington State wine fans, this was a bit of a trick question. Even though the Columbia Valley is the largest and best known American Viticultural Area in Washington, the Yakima Valley, which is within Columbia Valley, was Washington’s first AVA, designated as such in 1983. Columbia Valley was named an AVA a year later. The Yakima Valley is the historic heart of Washington wine country. Vinifera wine grapes were planted here in the late 1930s by Seattle attorney William Bridgman who also pioneered irrigated agriculture in the region and planted some of the state’s first grapes including Semillon, Ruby Cabernet, Grenache, and Pinot Noir. Many of the state’s earliest wineries, including Chinook, Thurston-Wolfe, Portteus, and Barnard Griffin are in Yakima, and many other wineries buy Yakima grapes. A number of Washington’s most famous grower-owned vineyards are also here, notably, Boushey Vineyard and Red Willow Vineyard.