The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

45°45'00'' N


120°30'00'' W




about this subregion

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is situated within the larger Columbia Valley AVA, to the west of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, in south-central Washington. Established in 2021, this AVA spans 16,870 acres and is distinguished by its unique environmental conditions that significantly influence viticulture in the region.


The climate in The Burn AVA is characterized by warm temperatures with an average of 2763 Growing Degree Days (GDD) annually. Despite this, the area benefits from persistent winds from the Columbia Gorge, which help moderate temperatures and extend the growing season. These winds delay heat accumulation, allowing for a gradual ripening process that is key for developing complex flavors in the grapes. The region receives an average of 8.76 inches of precipitation annually, slightly higher than other parts of the Columbia Valley, necessitating supplemental irrigation for optimal vine health​​​​​​.


The soils in The Burn AVA are predominantly fine sand, silt, and sandy loam. Fine sand offers excellent drainage, preventing waterlogging and promoting deep root growth. Silt soils retain moisture well, providing a consistent water supply to the vines. Sandy loam, which combines the properties of sand, silt, and clay, offers a balanced environment with good drainage and nutrient retention, ideal for viticulture.

Main Grape Varieties

The primary grape varieties grown in The Burn AVA are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and Chardonnay. These varieties thrive in the region's warm climate and diverse soil conditions, contributing to the production of high-quality wines with distinctive characteristics.


vinerra illustration

Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

The Landscape of The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA, located in south-central Washington state, is renowned for its distinct and picturesque landscape. Established in 2021, this AVA spans 16,870 acres and is situated to the west of the Horse Heaven Hills, with the Columbia River forming a natural border. The region is characterized by its unique topography and scenic beauty, making it a prominent area for viticulture.

Topographical Features

The terrain of The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is defined by a series of southeast-facing benches that rise above the Columbia River. These benches, which range in elevation from 270 to 1,780 feet above sea level, create a tiered effect that contributes to varied microclimates within the AVA. The gentle slope of just over 7% facilitates excellent air drainage, reducing the risk of frost and making the area ideal for grape growing​​​​.

Distinctive Elements

One of the most notable features of The Burn's landscape is its series of vineyard benches. Each bench offers unique growing conditions, with the first bench located closest to the Columbia River and the higher benches, such as the Old Highway 8 Vineyard on the fourth bench, providing different environments for vine cultivation. This variation allows for diverse vineyard management practices and enhances the quality of the grapes produced in the region​​​​.

The Columbia River not only forms a natural boundary but also significantly influences the local microclimate. It helps to moderate temperatures, reducing extreme weather variations and providing a stable environment for viticulture. This natural feature, along with the region's elevation, protects the vineyards from early and late season frosts, which can be detrimental to grape growth in other areas​​​​.

Visual Appeal

The Burn's landscape is visually striking, with its series of benches creating a dramatic backdrop of rolling hills and lush vineyards. The scenic beauty is further enhanced by the presence of the Columbia River and the surrounding natural features, making the AVA a picturesque location for wine production. This aesthetic appeal not only adds to the charm of the region but also attracts visitors and wine enthusiasts​​​​.

The landscape of The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is distinguished by its southeast-facing benches, the moderating influence of the Columbia River, and its overall scenic beauty.

Climate of The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is known for its unique climatic conditions that influence viticulture in the region. The climate of this AVA is defined by several key characteristics, including temperature, growing degree days, precipitation, and wind patterns.

Temperature and Growing Season

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is considered one of the warmer regions in the Columbia Valley. The area accumulates an average of 2,763 Growing Degree Days (GDD) annually, with a range from 2,405 to 3,249 GDD. This relatively high heat accumulation supports the cultivation of grape varieties that require more heat, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Despite being a warm appellation, the persistent winds from the Columbia Gorge delay heat accumulation, resulting in an extended growing season. This allows grapes to develop complex flavors and maintain excellent acidity​​​​.


The Burn receives an average annual precipitation of 8.76 inches, which is slightly higher than other regions in the Columbia Valley. This moderate level of rainfall, combined with the region's soil characteristics, helps maintain adequate moisture levels for the vines, reducing the need for extensive irrigation​​.

Wind Patterns

One of the defining climatic features of The Burn is the persistent wind from the Columbia Gorge. These winds play a crucial role in moderating temperatures and extending the growing season. The wind also reduces the size of the grapevine canopy and berries, contributing to the unique viticultural conditions of the AVA. This consistent wind pattern helps protect the vines from extreme heat and cold, making the region appear cooler than it actually is​​​​.

The Most Common Soils in The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is characterized by its unique and varied soil composition. These soils are characterized by its high content of organic matter, which allows the grapevines to obtain a higher amount of essential nutrints.

  1. Fine Sand: Fine sand is one of the primary soil types in The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA. This soil type is known for its excellent drainage properties, which help prevent waterlogging and root diseases. Fine sand allows for good root penetration, providing the vines with access to essential nutrients while promoting deep root growth. The well-draining nature of sandy soils also means that vineyards may require more frequent irrigation, particularly during dry periods. However, the ability of fine sand to warm up quickly in the spring aids in early vine growth and extends the growing season.
  2. Silt: Silt soils are also prevalent in The Burn AVA. These soils have a fine texture and are capable of retaining moisture better than sandy soils. The high water-holding capacity of silt helps maintain consistent moisture levels in the vineyard, which is beneficial for vine health and grape quality. Silt soils are typically fertile and rich in nutrients, providing an excellent growing medium for grapevines. The ability of silt to hold onto water and nutrients supports steady vine growth and helps produce grapes with balanced acidity and flavor.
  3. Sandy Loam: Sandy loam is a common soil type in The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA, combining the properties of sand, silt, and clay. This soil type offers a good balance of drainage and nutrient retention. Sandy loam is well-draining like fine sand but has better water retention capabilities due to its silt and clay content. This makes it an ideal soil for viticulture, as it prevents waterlogging while ensuring that the vines have access to necessary moisture and nutrients. Sandy loam soils are often considered the best for growing grapevines because they provide a stable environment for root development and promote healthy vine growth.


Most Common Grapes of The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA, located in the Washington state , is recognized for its unique terroir and climatic conditions. This AVA, established in 2021, spans 16,870 acres and features vineyards primarily planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and Chardonnay. The region's moderate elevation and proximity to the Columbia River create a distinctive environment that supports the cultivation of these grape varieties.

Most Common Red Grapes

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA due to its adaptability to the region's climate. This grape variety requires a long growing season with plenty of sunshine, which the AVA provides with its average of 2,763 Growing Degree Days (GDD). The persistent winds from the Columbia Gorge help regulate the temperature, preventing excessive heat accumulation. Cabernet Sauvignon vines benefit from the well-drained, nutrient-rich soils, primarily Walla Walla silt loam, which retains sufficient moisture while allowing for deep root growth.
  2. Syrah: Syrah is well-suited to the warm, dry conditions of The Burn. This variety requires high heat units for optimal ripening, making the AVA's extended growing season ideal. The region's winds delay development, allowing Syrah grapes to mature slowly and evenly. The silty loam soils provide excellent drainage, which is crucial for preventing root diseases and promoting healthy vine growth. Additionally, the slightly higher precipitation in The Burn compared to other parts of the Columbia Valley helps maintain the necessary moisture levels for Syrah cultivation.
  3. Malbec: Malbec in The Burn benefits from the area's high elevation and significant temperature fluctuations between day and night. These conditions help maintain acidity and balance in the grapes. Malbec vines prefer well-drained soils with good water retention, characteristics that match the AVA's soil profile. The relatively low annual rainfall, complemented by supplemental irrigation, ensures that the vines receive adequate water without the risk of overwatering, which is crucial for preventing fungal diseases.

Most Common White Grapes

Chardonnay: Chardonnay is the primary white grape variety planted in The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA. This grape requires a moderate climate with warm days and cool nights to achieve the best growth and ripening conditions. The region's elevation and proximity to the Columbia River provide these temperature variations. Chardonnay vines thrive in the AVA's silty loam soils, which offer good drainage and adequate water retention. The slightly higher precipitation levels in The Burn help maintain soil moisture, ensuring consistent vine health throughout the growing season.

The unique climatic and soil conditions of The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA make it an ideal location for cultivating a variety of grape types.

The Most Common Wines from The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is slowly getting more recognizement for its high-quality wines, primarily crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and Chardonnay grapes.

Most Common Red Wines

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: The Burn's Cabernet Sauvignon wines are known for their robust and complex profiles. These wines typically feature rich aromas of black currant, blackberry, and plum, accompanied by hints of tobacco, leather, and dark chocolate. On the palate, they offer a full-bodied experience with flavors of ripe black fruits, complemented by notes of cedar, spice, and a touch of vanilla from oak aging. The tannins are well-structured, providing a firm yet smooth finish.
  2. Syrah: Syrah wines from The Burn are characterized by their deep, dark color and bold flavors. Aromatically, they present a bouquet of blackberries, blueberries, and black cherries, with subtle undertones of smoked meat, pepper, and earthy notes. The palate is rich and velvety, showcasing concentrated dark fruit flavors, along with hints of spice, licorice, and a smoky finish. These wines often have a balanced acidity and a long, lingering finish.
  3. Malbec: Malbec wines in The Burn exhibit a vibrant and fruit-forward profile. The nose is dominated by aromas of black plum, blackberry, and red currants, with floral hints of violet and a touch of cocoa. On the palate, these wines are medium to full-bodied, offering juicy flavors of dark fruits, coupled with notes of mocha, vanilla, and sweet spices. The tannins are generally smooth, making for a soft and approachable finish.

Most Common White Wines

Chardonnay: Chardonnay wines from The Burn are celebrated for their bright and refreshing characteristics. They typically display aromas of green apple, pear, and citrus, with subtle hints of honeysuckle and minerality. The palate is well-balanced, featuring crisp flavors of apple, lemon, and tropical fruits, enhanced by notes of vanilla and butter from oak fermentation. These wines often have a vibrant acidity and a clean, elegant finish.

The wines of The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA reflect the unique terroir of the region, offering unique sensory experiences.