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Lake Chelan Wine Country
... wineries, wine shops, tour guides and real estate opportunities

     The Lake Chelan appellation is among the newest and most scenic of Washington state's wine-growing regions.  Its foray into wine-grape growing began relatively recently, while its reputation as an intoxicating travel destination is historic.  Lake Chelan has appealed to tourists, water-sport enthusiasts, skiing and backcountry hikers for many years, while its status as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) was gained in April of 2009.

         This beautiful region is located in north central Washington and now offers twenty-one wineries, with others making plans to join them soon..

       The breathtaking beauty of the area is second to none in Washington State, and wineries take advantage of lake views when locating their tasting rooms.  The narrow, fjord-like lake acts in a similar fashion as a river in moderating temperatures for the growing area.

       A surprisingly high number of heat units have been recorded for the Lake Chelan Valley over several years at nearby weather stations.  A range of 2600 - 3300 heat units make for a good growing season for many grape varieties, and the city of Chelan records approximately 2,900, similar to Walla Walla, Sunnyside, and Prosser, Washington.  The last two hard freezes in the Northwest did not damage to the area.  The region receives an average annual rainfall of 11 inches, with 39 inches of average annual snowfall.


Geology and Access

       The geographic boundaries of the Lake Chelan AVA generally follow the line of site on both sides of the Lake, excluding higher elevations, and include the City of Chelan  itself.  Several features distinguish it from its neighboring AVAs, including its elevation, soil derived from the crystalline granite of the Cascade Mountains, location in the rain shadow of the Northern Cascade Mountains, distinctive U-shaped topography and vineyards located around Lake Chelan that capitalize on the “lake effect” of moderate air temperatures.


Lake Chelan AVA

The Lake Chelan Winegrowers Association filed an American Viticultural Area (AVA) application in 2006; in April 2009, official authorization of the Lake Chelan AVA was published in the Federal Register. This newest of Washington State's  authorized AVAs establishes the 24,040-acre area surrounding Lake Chelan as the 11th appellation in the state. Located in north central Washington, the Lake Chelan Valley lies entirely within the Columbia Valley AVA and is about 112 miles east-northeast of Seattle.  Distinguishing features of the Lake Chelan viticultural area include its geology, geography, soils, and climate as directly influenced by past alpine glacial activity of the Cascade region. Lake Chelan Valley is the only valley in the Cascade Range in Oregon or Washington that holds a natural lake of its size. The climate of the agricultural and viticultural lands surrounding the lower (eastern) end of the lake is strongly moderated by the thermal effect of the lake on the air temperatures. The glacier that formed during the last ice age and traveled from the Cascade crest to the eastern end of the modern lake left a defining imprint on the landforms of the Lake Chelan Valley.  Also, pumice and ash from eruptions of volcanoes in the Cascade Range (principally Glacier Peak to the west of the new viticultural area) formed soils that are ashier and more pumiceous than those in any other established viticultural area in Washington State.

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        Consistently ranked as one of the most pristine waters in the United States, Lake Chelan's 50.5-mile length acts as a natural conduit between the rugged mountain peaks up lake and the lush, fertile down-lake valley.  At 1,486 feet, Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the nation, extending nearly 400 feet below sea level.  It was carved by two competing glaciers -- the Chelan glacier and the continental ice sheet.  Their back-and-forth movement created the broad lower lake and narrow upper lake, an 80-mile long glacial valley near the geographical center of Washington State.

       The semi-arid rolling hills surrounding the resort communities at the east end of the lake give little hint of the spectacular views offered as you travel up the lake, which for most of its length lies in a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon.  Roads extend less than halfway to the headwaters of Lake Chelan.  Beyond the end of the road, rugged snowcapped peaks rise over 7,000 feet from the lakeshore, and dark evergreens cover the mountainsides.  Deep valleys rise from the north side of the lake to massive glaciers in the heart of the North Cascades.

       At the upper end of Lake Chelan, limited local roads do not connect the communities of Stehekin and Holden Village to the outside world.  This remoteness and the spectacular setting have inspired Federal protection for much of the region.  Portions of a National Park, two National Forest Wilderness Areas, and a National Recreation Area encompass much of the Lake Chelan drainage.  Access to the headwaters of Lake Chelan and the town of Stehekin is by a passenger ferry or by seaplane.

The Wineries and Vineyards

       The late Dr. Walter Klore of Washington State wine industry fame created a report on this area some time during the 1980s.  He was particularly impressed by the land in the valley's lower elevations.  At that time, scattered concord plantings and a bit of chardonnay and pinot noir were the only attempts at viticulture.

       More recently, growers have planted vineyards in the area to Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, as well as more Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  The Valley has been known most commonly as a prime apple-growing region.  The same apple-growing conditions are key to growing premium wine grapes... warm days and cool nights, with temperatures moderated by the waters of Lake Chelan. 

     While only about 260 acres in the region have been planted, plans are underway to plant hundreds more.  Many Lake Chelan wineries also purchase grapes from vineyards in other parts of the Columbia Valley. 

     There is a lot of excitement about the quality of locally grown Lake Chelan grapes, but equally exciting is the caliber of winemaking skills represented at these newly established wineries;  wine awards are already being accumulated.


The Wineries of the Lake Chelan area

    The wineries in the Lake Chelan appellation (a sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley AVA) began leaving their doors open year-round in 2004.  And why not?  Lake Chelan is already a popular destination spot among travelers for water and winter sports, hiking and skiing, and for family vacations.  Those who love to include winery visits and tastings in their travels are certain to enjoy the scenic loop of Lake Chelan wineries around the eastern end of the Lake... all within an easy drive of the City of Chelan. 


Featured Winery

Atam Winery
FOR SALE

(Open Apr - Oct: Thu - Sun, 12 - 6 pm;
Nov - May: Sat, 1 - 5 pm or by appointment)

750 Kinsey Road
Manson, WA  98831
509-687-4421
Info: JoeCollins@windermere.com


Visit Wineries on both shores of the Lake & others near the town of Chelan

NORTH SHORE & MANSON AREA

Atam Winery
FOR SALE

(Open Apr - Oct: Thu - Sun, 12 - 6 pm;
Nov - May: Sat, 1 - 5 pm or by appointment)

750 Kinsey Road
Manson, WA  98831
509-687-4421
Info: JoeCollins@windermere.com

Benson Vineyards
(Daily: Sun - Thurs, 11 - 5;
Fri & Sat, 11 - 6)
754 Winesap Avenue
Manson, WA
509-687-0313

Chelangr’La
(Jun 1 - Sep 30: Thur - Sun, Noon to 6pm;
Closed Oct 1 - May 31)

3310 W Manson Blvd
Manson, WA 98831
509-687-9746

Chelan Ridge Winery
(Daily 12 - 6 Spring, Summer, Fall.
Call for Winter hours - Nov - May)
900 Swartout Road
Manson, WA  98831

509-587-4455

CheVal Cellars
(Open most Sat afternoons - Summer season)
831 Kinsey Road
Manson, WA  98831
509-828-2870

C.R. Sandidge Wines
(Open Memorial Day Weekend thru Oct:
Thurs - Sat, 11 - 6;  Nov - May:  Fri & Sat, 11 - 6.
Closed January)
145 Wapato Way
Manson, WA
509-682-3704

Four Lakes Winery
Tasting Room & Vineyard

(Thurs - Sun: Noon - 7 pm)
4491 Wapato Road
Manson, WA  98831
509-682-9028
509-682-1823

Hard Row to Hoe Winery
(Daily from Noon to 6 pm. Call for winter hours
and extended hours in the summer)

300 Ivan Morse Road
(1/2 mile behind Mill Bay Casino,
off Wapato Lake Road)

Manson, WA  98831
509-687-3000

Lake Chelan Winery
(Daily 11am - 6pm)
3519 State Road 150
Chelan, WA  98816
509-687-9463

Tildio Winery
(Open daily summer months:
12 -7;
Winter: Sat & Sun, 12-5;
Closed December 14 - Feb 11)

70 East Wapato Lake Road
Manson, WA  98831
509-687-8463

Wapato Point Cellars
(Daily 12 - 5pm)
200 Quetilquasoon Road
Manson, WA  98831
509-687-4000
800-946-3480
Winemakers Grill
at Wapato Point

(Dinner served nightly from 5 pm)

WineGirl Wines
The Blending Room
(Summer: Daily, 11 am – 8 pm;
Spring & Fall: Fri - Mon, 11 am – 6 pm;
Winter: Weekends 12 - 5 pm)

222 E Wapato Way
Manson, WA  98831
509-293-9679

 

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Wine growing areas of Washington
Click on map for larger version
and the location of the region's wineries.

SOUTH SHORE

Chelan Estate
Winery & Vineyards
(Memorial Weekend thru Labor Day Weekend:
Daily, 11 - 6 pm; Spt - May: Call for days/hours)
755 S Lakeshore Road
Chelan, WA  98816
509-682-5454

Karma Vineyards & Cave
(Open Memorial Weekend - September:
Tues - Sun, 12 - 8 pm;
All other seasons: Wed - Sun, 12 - 6 pm)

1681 S Lakeshore Road
Chelan, WA  98816
509-669-5753
18 Brix Restaurant
at Karma Vineyards
(Wed & Thurs, 12pm-5pm
Fri & Sat, 12pm-8pm
Sun, 12pm-3pm)
509-682-5538

Mellisoni Vineyards
(By Appointment Thurs - Sun)
3155 Alt. US 97
Chelan, WA
509-293-1891

Nefarious Cellars
(Apr 10-30: Sat & Sun, 12-5;
May 1 - Jun 14: Wed - Sun, 12-5;
Jun 15 - Oct 15: Daily, 11-5;
Oct 16 - Halloween: Wed - Sun, 12-5.
Closed Nov - Mar, except Red Wine & Chocolate)

495 S Lakeshore Road
Chelan, WA 98816
509-682-9505

Tsillan Cellars
Vineyards, Winery & Restaurant
(Winery Open Daily: Noon - 5 pm)
(Restaurant open for lunch & dinner:
Daily summer season; Thurs - Sun, Winter)
3875 Hwy. 97A
(Chelan Falls Hwy)
Chelan, WA  98816

509-682-9463
877-682-8463
509-699-9181 - Restaurant

Tunnel Hill
(By appointment)
37 Highway 97A
Chelan, WA  98816
509-682-5695

CHELAN AREA

Four Lakes Winery
(By appointment)
Tasting Room near Manson

205 Howard Flats Road
Chelan, WA  98816
509-682-9028
Tasting Room in Manson Area

Lake Chelan Winery
(Daily 11am - 7pm)
3519 Highway 150
Chelan, WA  98816
509-687-9463

Rio Vista Wines
(Year Round.
May - Oct: Wed - Sun, 12-6;
Nov - Apr: Fri - Sun, 12-5;
Otherwise by appointment)

24415 Highway 97
10 minutes north of Chelan

Chelan, WA 988016
509-682-9713

Vin du lac Winery & Bistro
(Tasting Room open daily:
11am - 6pm - Sun - Fri; 11 - 7 Saturdays;
Bistro open daily: 11 am - 8 pm)

105 Hwy 150
Chelan, WA 98816
509-682-2882
866-455-WINE (9463)

 


Local Tour Guides

Bon Vivant Wine Tours
and Driving Services

(From Seattle to Woodinville, Bainbridge Island,
Olympic Peninsula, Yakima Valley,
Walla Walla &
Columbia valleys; Red Mountain & Horse Heaven Hills;
Leavenworth/Wenatchee, Chelan, Columbia Gorge)
2120 Montvale Place W.
Seattle, WA 98199
206-524-8687
info@bonvivanttours.com

Chelan Valley Tours
Chelan, WA
509-682-2386

Lakeside Limo Wine Tours
(Serving Lake Chelan, Wenatchee
& surrounding areas)

319 Orchard View Drive
Chelan, WA 98816
509-470-0333

Leavenworth Wine Tours
(Serving Lake Chelan. Wenatchee
 and Leavenworth areas)

509-662-1691

Seattle Wine Tours
(Serving
Seattle, Woodinville, Leavenworth,
Wenatchee, Chelan, Yakima, Red Mountain,
Tri-Cities  or Walla Walla)

321 3rd Avenue S, Suite 204
Seattle, WA
206-444-9463

Wineries Express
(Join-In Tours: Fri, Sat & Sun from Yakima Visitors Center;
Custom & Charter Tours: Yakima Valley, Tri Cities,
Walla Walla Valley, Wenatchee & Chelan)

509-654-9505


North Central Washington Wine Shops & Wine Bars

Chelan Red Apple Market
Wine Department
310 Manson Hwy
Chelan, WA
509-682-4521

The Grape Quincy Wine Cellar
2 "D" Street
Quincy, WA  98848
509-787-5170

Lake Chelan Wine Cellar
Inside Stop Light Espresso
& Fruit Market
229 Woodin Avenue
Chelan, WA  98816
509-682-0359

Mission Street Bistro
& Wine Bar
202 N. Mission Street
Wenatchee, WA
 509-665-2406

The Vogue - A Liquid Lounge
117 E Woodin
PO Box 637
Chelan, WA 98816
509-888-5282

The Wine Bin
208 N. Mission
Wenatchee, WA   98801
509-
663-3007

 


Chelan Valley Real Estate

Joe Collins, Associate Broker of Washington
Chelan Region Real Estate: Homes, Properties, Lots
Windermere Real Estate
Chelan, WA  98816
509-682-5100 (Office)
509-470-2182 (Cell)
joecollins@windermere.com


 

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Copyright © 2004 - October, 2014 Susan R. O'Hara.   All rights reserved.
Last revised:  October 14, 2014