Wine Wednesday: Learn about AVAs with Frichette Winery - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wine Wednesday: Learn about AVAs with Frichette Winery

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BENTON CITY, WA - You see it printed on every bottle of wine at the store; "Columbia Valley", "Red Mountain", "Horse Heaven Hills"...but these locations aren't where the tasting rooms are located or where the winery set up shop. The place marked on the wine is actually where the grapes in that bottle were born and raised, otherwise known as an American Viticulture Area (AVA).

"It is important for a consumer, if they really enjoy something, to learn about where that wine might come from," says Shae Frichette with Frichette Winery in Benton City, "so they can make decisions on other things they might like in comparison to the wine they're enjoying."

Frichette says there's a lot of science involved: soil composition, which direction a slope is facing, sunlight, heat and water differences between the areas that can tie a wine to a specific area.

But how can average consumers take advantage of the AVA labeling on the bottles they find in the store?

"A lot of times it's, 'Well, what other wines might I enjoy that are similar to this?' And sometimes you can define that by, 'Oh, I love this particular characteristic in a wine'," Frichette says. "And that may be something that's very heavily influenced by where the wine grapes come from."

Washingtonwine.org lists fourteen AVAs in Washington, with 13 of them east of the Cascades...the Red Mountain AVA in Benton City being the smallest one in the state.

With so many different areas of the state growing grapes now, there is a vast variety of options when it comes to where you want your wine to come from, and bottle labeling can help consumers connect the dots on their favorites.

"There's so many unique characteristics about enjoying wine from here, and we have so many different areas that offer different experiences," Frichette says.

As overwhelming as it may sound, there really is a whole state's worth of varieties to explore throughout all the AVAs in Washington Wine Country.

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