The region’s newest wine region is a 480-square-mile “banana belt” straddling the Idaho-Washington border at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers.
The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau announced the new Lewis-Clark Valley Viticultural Area on Tuesday. Final rules will be published April 20 in the Federal Register and the AVA takes effect May 20.
The newest AVA was developed by Alan Busacca, a White Salmon geologist, on behalf of the Palouse-Lewis Clark Valley Wine Alliance, the Clearwater Economic Development Association, and Colter’s Creek Winery. It was endorsed as well by the Idaho Wine Commission. More than 70 percent of the AVA is contained within Idaho.
(T)he Lewis-Clark Valley has been know for over 150 years as a temperate-climate area within the colder surrounding region that can produce high quality tree fruit such as peaches and apples, wine and table grapes, and irrigated vegetables. In common parlance, it is called ‘the banana belt’ of the inland Pacific Northwest.
Alan Busacca, a White Salmon geologist
It includes portions of Nez Perce, Lewis, Clearwater and Latah counties in northern Idaho and Asotin, Garfield and Whitman counties in southeastern Washington. The land, described by Busacca as the “banana belt” of the inland Pacific Northwest. It consists of canyon side and other lands formed by the Snake and Clearwater rivers above and below the confluence at the towns of Lewiston in Idaho and Clarkston in Washington.
The 306,000-acre viticultural area includes 44,000 acres of wine grapes and 57,000 acres formerly contained in the Columbia Valley viticultural area.
Busacca, of Vinitas Consultants, said the temperate region offers ideal growth conditions in his .
“(T)he Lewis-Clark Valley has been know for over 150 years as a temperate-climate area within the colder surrounding region that can produce high quality tree fruit such as peaches and apples, wine and table grapes, and irrigated vegetables,” he wrote. “In common parlance, it is called ‘the banana belt’ of the inland Pacific Northwest.”
It includes 16 vineyards, including one in Washington, in the new AVA. Wineries include Basalt Cellars in Clarkston, Wash., Clearwater Canyon Cellars in Lewiston, Idaho, and Colter’s Creek, in Juliaetta, Idaho.