Goose Gap, Washington is a small, picturesque town that has developed a local reputation for producing some very good wines. The town was originally known as “Reno” and it was named for the two geese that used to fly back and forth over the town on the old stage coach route. The town was incorporated in 1887, and it became Goose Gap in 1907.

Based on the microclimates at higher elevations, Goose Gap is the highest peak in the Yakima River valley as well as the highest point in the entire state of Washington. The cascading summer wildflowers, cool-to-cold weather, and abundant wildlife—including numerous Bald Eagles—make it a popular destination among Washingtonians.

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Goose Gap has an east-west exposure with vineyards on the northern and northeastern slopes.

Image courtesy of Darren Zemanek

SEATTLE (June 30, 2021) – Goose Gap is the newest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Washington State. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is going to publish a final rule tomorrow, 1. in July 2021 for the Goose Gap AVA to officially designate it as a designated wine region.

The Goose Gap TAA includes 8,129 acres of land located entirely within the Yakima Valley TAA and the larger Columbia Valley TAA. There are currently 1,800 acres of grapes in two commercial vineyards. Sixteen varieties are grown here and the fruit is sold to more than 20 wineries.

The AVA takes its name from a piece of land known as the Goose Gap. It was so named because it was a goose migration route between rivers that offered hunters an exceptional place to hunt, says Alan Busacca, PhD, author of the AVA petition. Goose Gap and adjacent Goose Mountain, which is also part of the AVA, form an irregular triangle that follows the geography between Candy Mountain, Red Mountain, and Badger Mountain.

According to Busacchi, some of the features of the Goose Gap AVA are:

  • Goose Mountain is oriented east-west, while almost all of the surrounding hills are oriented northwest-southeast. Therefore, AVA’s vineyards are primarily on north and northeast facing slopes, while virtually all other vineyards in the area are on south or southwest facing slopes. In general, northern and northeastern slopes result in less sunshine and later ripening than vineyards located on southern or southwestern slopes.
  • Soils in the Goose Gap AVA consist of nearly two-thirds Warden Series, which is significantly more than in surrounding areas. These soils consist of windblown loess, stratified or layered silt, and fine sand from past Missoula floods, and have a rooting depth of six feet or more, with no root limiting layers, making them generally valuable for vineyards.

Our family started farming in the Columbia Valley in the early 1900s and we always knew Goose Gap was a special place, says Bill Monson, president of Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards & Winery, now the only winery in the AVA. The region has a unique microclimate. We often look at the rain clouds and fog that surround Goose Mountain and avoid the vineyards planted at the summit.

Goose Gap is the 19th. AVA in Washington State and comes after Columbia Valley and White Bluffs burned in mid-June and Royal Slope and Candy Mountain in September.

Each AVA is created over the course of several years, so it’s an exciting time for those making wine from grapes grown in Goose Gap, said Steve Warner, chair of the Washington State Wine Commission. We are ready to showcase this beautiful area!

To obtain AVA status, the wine-growing region must be distinguished by characteristics such as climate, soil, altitude and physical features. Of the 2. In August 2021, wine producers will be able to apply to the TTB for a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) for a label that lists the Goose Gap AVA as a designation of origin.

As the only major vineyard in the lower Yakima Valley planted primarily on the northern and northeastern slopes, Goose Ridge takes advantage of the unique and diverse qualities of the Goose Gap AVA to produce compelling wines from the 16 varieties grown in the AVA, Monson said. Built on tradition and hard work, Goose Ridge remains committed to producing quality wines. We look forward to including the Goose Gap appellation in our wine portfolio and sharing it with our customers.

About the Washington State Wine Commission:

The Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC) represents all licensed wineries and wine grape growers in Washington State. The WSWC is governed by an appointed board of directors and provides a marketing platform to increase awareness of Washington’s wine industry and drive demand for Washington wines. The WSWC is a state agency created by the legislature in 1987 and funded almost entirely by the industry through contributions from grape and wine sales. For more information, see www.washingtonwine.org.

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