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Wine geology

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The Yakima Valley AVA is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It was the state's first federal designated wine region when recognized in 1983.

Wine Yakima Valley is planning a number of events to celebrate the anniversary this year. For starters, the organization this week published the first lesson in a master class series about the region. "Fire & Ice," covers the geology of the Yakima Valley. The valley's designation as an American Viticulture Area may be only 30 years old, but the volcanic, glacier and flood-eroded soils responsible for its unique agricultural properties began taking shape about 15 million years ago.

For those who love wine and want to know why one wine may taste different than another, this is a great little primer in learning at least one aspect of "terroir," that quality of vineyard soil, climate and viticulture that can influence wine quality.

Many Washington wines are made from grapes grown in the Yakima area. And the geology there is similar in most respects to vineyard land throughout central Washington.

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