Rattlesnake Hills AVA

Rattlesnake Hills AVA

46° 18' 00" N


120° 34' 00" W




about this subregion

Nestled within the picturesque Washington wine region, the Rattlesnake Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) stands as a testament to the harmonious marriage of environment and viticulture. Located at a latitude of approximately 46° 18' N and longitude 120° 34' W, this unique AVA boasts an average altitude of around 1,150 meters, creating a captivating terroir for grape cultivation.

One of the defining characteristics of Rattlesnake Hills AVA is its climate, characterized by warm, sunny days and cool nights. This climate, along with an average of 2,850 Growing Degree Days (GDD), creates the ideal conditions for ripening grapes. The result is a remarkable array of wines, with a particular focus on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Riesling.

Merlot thrives in this environment, offering rich, velvety red wines with notes of plum and cherry. Cabernet Sauvignon expresses itself with bold flavors and structured tannins, while Syrah reveals its deep, complex character with hints of blackberry and pepper. Riesling, on the other hand, flourishes in the cooler microclimates, yielding vibrant and aromatic white wines.

The Rattlesnake Hills AVA's elevated location not only provides excellent drainage for the vineyards but also ensures a unique terroir that contributes to the exceptional quality of its wines. With its ideal growing conditions and a commitment to excellence, this AVA is a hidden gem within the Washington wine region, offering a diverse and memorable tasting experience for wine enthusiasts.


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Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

Nestled within the heart of Washington State's wine region, in the United States, the Rattlesnake Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a captivating wine-producing region characterized by its rolling hills and picturesque landscapes. Situated in the Yakima Valley, this AVA is bordered by the nearby Snipes Mountain AVA to the south and the Yakima Valley AVA to the north. To the west, the stunning backdrop of the Cascade Mountains provides a dramatic contrast to the lush vineyards that thrive in the AVA. The landscape here is marked by its diverse terroir, which includes well-draining soils and an elevation that ranges from approximately 1,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level. This unique combination of geography and climate provides an ideal environment for grape cultivation, making Rattlesnake Hills AVA a gem within Washington's wine country. Its geographical location and natural beauty contribute to the region's reputation as a premier wine-producing destination.

The climate of the Rattlesnake Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a symphony of elements that play a pivotal role in shaping the character of its wines. Situated within the Yakima Valley of Washington State, this region experiences a climate that is as diverse as it is influential in viticulture.

During the growing season, which typically stretches from late spring to early fall, the Rattlesnake Hills AVA enjoys long, sun-drenched days. The sun's radiant warmth blankets the vineyards, coaxing the grapes to ripen slowly and steadily. This extended sunshine imparts a richness and depth to the flavors, contributing to the exceptional quality of the wines produced here.

Yet, it's the cool nights that add a layer of complexity to the grapes. As the sun dips below the horizon, a gentle, cooling breeze descends from the nearby Cascade Mountains. These cool evenings offer respite to the vines, allowing them to retain their natural acidity. This crucial balance between warm days and cool nights ensures that the grapes mature gracefully, preserving their essential vibrancy.

The Rattlesnake Hills AVA's elevated location, with vineyards ranging from about 1,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level, also plays a significant role in its climate. The higher altitudes contribute to the region's relatively cooler temperatures, creating microclimates that suit a variety of grape varieties. Some areas within the AVA bask in the warmth of the sun, ideal for red varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, while others enjoy cooler pockets that are perfect for white varietals such as Riesling.

Precipitation in this region is relatively low, with an average annual rainfall of between 152 and 304 millimeters. This arid climate ensures that the vineyards are not overly saturated, allowing vintners to exercise precise control over irrigation and manage the grapes' development.

In summary, the climate of the Rattlesnake Hills AVA is a finely tuned orchestra, with the elements of sun, cool nights, elevation, and limited rainfall all playing their part. This harmonious interplay results in wines that are expressive, balanced, and reflective of the unique terroir that defines this remarkable wine region.

Nestled within the heart of Washington State's wine region, the Rattlesnake Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) boasts a diverse and intricate tapestry of soils that contribute significantly to the unique terroir of this esteemed wine-producing region. Among the varied soil types found here, two stand out prominently: silt loam and loam soils. These soils play a pivotal role in shaping the flavors and characteristics of the grapes grown in Rattlesnake Hills AVA, offering vintners the canvas upon which they craft their exceptional wines. Let's delve into the distinct qualities of these soils that make them integral components of the region's viticultural identity.

  1. Silt Loam Soils: Within the Rattlesnake Hills AVA, silt loam soils occupy a significant portion of the vineyard landscape. These soils are renowned for their fine-textured composition, a balanced mix of silt, sand, and clay. Silt, being the predominant component, lends these soils a smooth, silky texture that is highly conducive to grape cultivation. Silt loam soils are prized for their excellent water-holding capacity and nutrient retention, making them particularly favorable for viticulture. Vintners in this region appreciate these soils for their ability to produce wines with well-developed flavors and structured tannins, thanks to the optimal drainage and nutrient-rich environment they provide.
  2. Loam Soils: Loam soils are another vital contributor to the diverse terroir of Rattlesnake Hills AVA. These soils are characterized by an ideal balance of sand, silt, and clay, offering a texture that is neither too fine nor too coarse. The loamy composition promotes effective drainage while also retaining sufficient moisture for the vines. This versatility allows vintners to cultivate a wide range of grape varieties in loam soils, each expressing its unique character. Whether it's the bold tannins of Cabernet Sauvignon or the delicate nuances of Riesling, loam soils provide a stable foundation for consistent grape development. Winemakers cherish the adaptability of loam soils, which contribute to the AVA's reputation for producing wines of exceptional quality and diversity.

In the Rattlesnake Hills AVA, the interplay between silt loam and loam soils contributes to the intricate mosaic of terroir. These soils offer vintners a canvas upon which they can craft a rich tapestry of wines, each reflecting the nuanced influence of the earth beneath the vines. Whether it's the elegance of Merlot or the complexity of Syrah, the soils of this region play an integral role in nurturing the grapes that yield the distinctive flavors and characteristics for which Rattlesnake Hills wines are celebrated.


Nestled within the picturesque Rattlesnake Hills AVA of Washington State, the vineyards here are graced with a unique physical aspect. The region's elevated location, at an average altitude of around 1,150 meters, presents excellent drainage for the vineyards, while the warm days and cool nights of its climate create an ideal environment for grape cultivation. Now, let's explore the agricultural and climatic requirements of the prominent grape varieties grown in this AVA:

  1. Merlot: Merlot grapes thrive in Rattlesnake Hills' sunny climate and well-drained soils. These grapes are known for their adaptability and ability to flourish in a variety of soils, making them a staple of the region. Merlot vines benefit from the warm days to ripen the fruit and cool nights to retain acidity, resulting in wines with a balanced structure.
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon demands a longer growing season, which is amply provided by the AVA's warm days and extended sunlight hours. The well-draining soils and moderate water availability in this region contribute to the development of rich, structured Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
  3. Syrah: Syrah grapes revel in the warm climate of Rattlesnake Hills. These vines thrive with the ample sunshine and benefit from the AVA's diverse terroir. The combination of warm days and cool nights allows Syrah to develop its characteristic deep color and complex flavors.
  4. Riesling: Riesling, being a cool-climate grape, flourishes in the cooler microclimates within Rattlesnake Hills AVA. It requires careful placement within the region to ensure the right balance of sunlight and cooling influences. The AVA's elevation and climatic diversity offer a perfect backdrop for crafting vibrant and aromatic Riesling wines.

These grape varieties have found their ideal home in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA, each responding to the region's unique agricultural and climatic characteristics to produce wines of exceptional quality and distinction.

Nestled within the captivating Rattlesnake Hills AVA of Washington State, a diverse range of wines with distinct characteristics grace the glasses of wine enthusiasts. These wines are known for their rich body, vibrant colors, and exceptional balance, all nurtured by the unique terroir of the region.

  1. Merlot: Rattlesnake Hills' Merlot wines are celebrated for their lush, ruby-red hues. Aromas of ripe plum, cherry, and subtle herbal notes greet the senses. On the palate, these wines offer a harmonious blend of red fruit flavors, complemented by soft tannins and a velvety texture, resulting in an elegant and approachable profile.
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon: The Cabernet Sauvignon wines of this AVA boast deep, garnet shades that hint at their bold character. Aromas of blackcurrant, dark berries, and hints of cedar captivate the nose. On the palate, these wines deliver robust flavors of black fruit, layered with notes of oak and structured tannins, offering a powerful and enduring tasting experience.
  3. Syrah: Syrah wines from Rattlesnake Hills exhibit an enticing deep-purple color that foreshadows their complexity. The nose is filled with aromas of blackberry, violet, and a touch of black pepper. Upon tasting, Syrah reveals its bold personality, with flavors of dark fruit, spice, and a velvety mouthfeel, culminating in a long and spicy finish.
  4. Riesling: Riesling wines crafted in this region capture the essence of its cooler microclimates. They shine with a pale, straw-like appearance. The bouquet is fragrant, showcasing floral notes, green apple, and hints of mineral. On the palate, Riesling offers a vibrant acidity, a refreshing citrusy zing, and a spectrum of flavors ranging from stone fruit to zesty lime, delivering a crisp and invigorating experience.

These wines, distinguished by their visual allure and captivating aromas, mirror the unique terroir of Rattlesnake Hills AVA, offering a delightful journey through the diverse and flavorful world of Washington State wines.