Goose Gap AVA

Goose Gap AVA

46° 14' 00'' N


119° 20' 00'' W




about this subregion

Overview of the Goose Gap AVA

The Goose Gap AVA is a sub-appellation of the Yakima Valley AVA, located within the larger Columbia Valley AVA in Washington. Established in 2021, this AVA covers 8,129 acres and is known for its unique environmental conditions that are ideal for viticulture.


The Goose Gap AVA features a semi-arid climate with warm, dry summers. Daytime temperatures average around 90°F (32°C) during the growing season, with nighttime temperatures often dropping below 50°F (10°C). This significant temperature variation helps maintain grape acidity, crucial for producing balanced wines. The region receives an average annual precipitation of about 6 inches, necessitating irrigation for vine health and productivity​​​​​​.


The soils in the Goose Gap AVA are primarily from the Warden series, consisting of windblown silt (loess) and fine sand. These soils provide excellent drainage, essential for healthy vine growth. Beneath these layers lies sediment from the ancient Missoula Floods, a mix of silt, sand, and clay that enriches the soil with minerals and nutrients. This combination of soil layers creates an optimal environment for growing high-quality grapes​​​​​​.

Main Grape Varieties

The primary grape varieties cultivated in the Goose Gap AVA are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay. These varieties thrive in the region's unique climate and soil conditions, contributing to the production of high-quality wines known for their distinct characteristics.


vinerra illustration

Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

Landscape of the Goose Gap AVA

The Goose Gap AVA, that lies within the broader Columbia Valley, features a distinct landscape that sets it apart from neighboring regions. The primary characteristic of the Goose Gap AVA is the east-west orientation of the ridge crest of the Goose Mountain, that contrasts with the northwest to southeast alignment of nearby hills such as Red Mountain, Candy Mountain, and Rattlesnake Mountain. This unique orientation results in vineyards that are predominantly planted on north and northeast slopes, which receive less solar radiation and ripen later compared to those on south or southwest slopes​​​​​​.

Goose Gap forms a rough triangle geographically defined by Goose Mountain to the west and Candy and Red Mountains to the east. This area is characterized by a range of elevations from 577 feet over sea level at the southern boundary to 1,339 feet over sea level at the top of Goose Mountain, providing diverse microenvironments for viticulture. The ridge and slopes create a landscape that is not only scenic but also highly functional for grape growing, allowing for a gradual and extended ripening period for the grapes​​​​.

The AVA's name, "Goose Gap," comes from a saddle of land that served as a flyway for geese between rivers, making it a notable landmark for hunters historically. This natural corridor between the mountains contributes to the distinctive topography of the region. The vineyards take advantage of the natural landscape, using the varied elevation and orientation to cultivate high-quality grapes suited for wine production​​​​. In addition for wine production, the region is also recognized for its agricultural versatility: besides grapes, there are also plantations of apple orchards, cherry orchards and alfalfa.

Climate of the Goose Gap AVA

The Goose Gap AVA, located within the Yakima Valley and Columbia Valley in Washington, is characterized by a unique climate that contributes significantly to its wine production. This AVA experiences a semi-arid climate, typical of the eastern part of Washington state, with an average annual precipitation of around 6 inches. The region benefits from warm, dry summers with daytime temperatures averaging around 90°F (32°C) and cool nights that often drop below 50°F (10°C) during the growing season. These temperature variations help maintain acidity in the grapes, which is crucial for producing well-balanced wines​​​​.

The Goose Gap AVA's vineyards are predominantly situated on north and northeast-facing slopes, which receive less direct sunlight compared to south or southwest-facing slopes. This orientation results in a longer growing season and later harvest times, allowing the grapes to develop more complex flavors while avoiding the risk of over-ripening. The cool air from the northern elevations also flows through the region, providing a natural cooling effect that further aids in preserving grape acidity​​​​.

In addition to the temperature benefits, the region's unique topography, with elevations ranging from 577 feet to 1,339 feet over sea level, creates diverse microclimates within the AVA. This elevation range and the associated air movement help prevent frost damage and ensure that the vines do not overheat during the hot summer days​​​​.

Most Common Soils of the Goose Gap AVA

The Goose Gap AVA in Washington State is distinguished by its unique soil composition, which significantly influences the quality of its wines. These soils provide excellent drainage and support healthy vine growth, essential for high-quality grape production.

  1. Warden Series: The Warden series is the primary soil type in Goose Gap AVA. These deep, well-drained soils are formed from windblown silt (loess), offering a silty loam topsoil that allows vine roots to penetrate easily and access nutrients. The uniform texture and good drainage of these soils ensure that the vines receive adequate water without becoming waterlogged, promoting healthy growth and development​​​​.
  2. Windblown Silt and Fine Sand: This layer, deposited over the Warden series soils, enhances the excellent drainage properties of the region. The fine sand prevents soil compaction, allowing roots to grow deeply and access vital nutrients and water. This composition is especially beneficial during dry summer months, retaining sufficient moisture to support the vines while preventing excess water retention that could lead to root diseases​​​​.
  3. Missoula Flood Sediment: Beneath the windblown silt and fine sand lies a subsoil layer of sediments from the ancient Missoula Floods, a mix of silt, sand, and clay that provides rich mineral content for grapevine nutrition. These sediments contribute to the soil profile's structure and stability, ensuring the vines have a firm foundation for growth. This combination creates an ideal environment for viticulture, supporting the production of high-quality wines​​​​.


Most Common Grapes of the Goose Gap AVA

Washington is renowned for its unique terroir, characterized by north and northeast-facing slopes and predominantly Warden series soils, that allows producers to grow high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay.

Most Common Red Grapes

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in Goose Gap's well-drained soils and warm climate. The grape requires a long growing season with ample sunlight to fully ripen, which the AVA's north and northeast slopes provide by reducing excessive heat exposure and allowing for a gradual ripening process. The region's cool nights are beneficial for preserving acidity, which is crucial for the development of robust Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Additionally, the deep, well-drained Warden series soils support the deep root systems that Cabernet vines need to access water and nutrients, particularly important in this semi-arid region with low annual precipitation.
  2. Merlot: Merlot vines flourish in Goose Gap's moderate temperatures and loamy soils, which are less prone to temperature extremes due to the orientation of the slopes. The grape benefits from the region's warm days and cool nights, promoting balanced vine growth and berry development. Merlot requires soils that retain some moisture but also provide good drainage, which the Warden series soils offer. The loess and fine sands overlying the ancient flood sediments ensure that Merlot vines can establish strong roots and access the necessary nutrients throughout the growing season.
  3. Syrah: Syrah is well-suited to the warm, dry conditions of Goose Gap, where it can achieve optimal ripeness. The grape requires a significant amount of heat to develop fully, and the AVA's climate provides this while the north and northeast slopes mitigate the risk of over-ripening. The well-drained, deep soils prevent waterlogging and encourage the development of healthy root systems, essential for Syrah's growth. Additionally, the variation in daytime and nighttime temperatures helps maintain the vine's physiological balance, crucial for Syrah's vigorous growth.

Most Common White Grapes

Chardonnay: Chardonnay benefits from the region's cooler slopes and fertile soils. This grape variety requires a balanced climate with sufficient warmth to ripen but also benefits from the cool nights to maintain acidity. The north and northeast slopes provide a slower, more even ripening process, preventing the grapes from developing too quickly. The Warden series soils, with their fine silt and sand composition, offer excellent drainage and moderate water retention, supporting the vine's needs throughout the growing season. This environment allows Chardonnay vines to thrive, producing high-quality fruit suitable for a range of wine styles.

The Goose Gap AVA's unique climatic and soil conditions make it an ideal location for growing a wide range of grape varieties. The orientation of the slopes and the composition of the soils create an environment that supports the agricultural requirements of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay, ensuring the production of high-quality wines in this distinctive wine region.

Most Common Wines from the Goose Gap AVA

Goose Gap AVA is known for producing top-quality wines. The region's unique climate and soil create ideal conditions for grape growing. Here, we explore the most common wines from this area: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay.

Most Common Red Wines

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon from Goose Gap AVA is full-bodied and complex. It has aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, and hints of cedar and dark chocolate. On the palate, you taste ripe black fruits, vanilla, and a touch of spice. This wine has firm tannins and a long finish.
  2. Merlot: Merlot from this region is smooth and approachable. It smells like plum, cherry, and raspberry, with notes of cocoa and spices. The taste is velvety, featuring juicy red fruits, mocha, and a bit of earthiness. It has moderate tannins and balanced acidity.
  3. Syrah: Syrah from the Goose Gap AVA is bold and intense. It offers aromas of black pepper, smoked meat, and ripe blackberries. The taste includes dark fruits, black olives, and licorice, with a smoky and spicy finish. This wine has robust tannins and vibrant acidity.

Most Common White Wines

Chardonnay: Chardonnay from Goose Gap AVA is elegant and balanced. It smells like green apple, pear, and citrus, with hints of vanilla and toast from oak aging. The taste is crisp and refreshing, featuring apple, lemon, and a touch of minerality. It has well-integrated acidity and a creamy texture.

The Goose Gap AVA offers a wide range of excellent wines. Whether you enjoy the bold flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah or the smoothness of Merlot and Chardonnay, there is something for every wine lover in this region.