Cantwell, Local Wine Growers Discuss Uncorking Industry’s Bottled Up Potential

With Senator’s help, Lewis-Clark Valley’s American Viticulture Area designation brings welcome boost

CLARKSTON, WA – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today met with Southeast Washington and Idaho wine industry leaders at Basalt Cellars in Clarkston, Washington to discuss the newly designated Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA).

The AVA designation – which recognizes a wine-grape growing and production area that is distinguished for its unique geography and climate – comes after the Lewis-Clark Valley’s petition was held in limbo for 371 days by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Cantwell helped end the delay by sending a letter to the agency earlier this year urging it to expedite the approval.

“I want to congratulate you and wine makers throughout the region on your successful work to establish the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA designation. Despite all of the challenges you face, each of you continues to put out a great product," said Senator Cantwell. "I am committed to seeing the wine industry in the Lewis and Clark Valley continue to grow and thrive whether it's through increased infrastructure‎ investments, workforce development or marketing assistance.”

Since 2009, the Lewis-Clark Valley Wine Alliance, a group of wine grape growers, wineries, and economic development and tourism organizations, has worked with community stakeholders and the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to secure an AVA designation for the area. The new Lewis-Clark AVA consists of parts of Asotin, Garfield and Whitman County in Washington, as well as Nez Perce, Clearwater, Latah and Lewis County in Idaho.

Click HERE for a map of the new AVA.

The wine industry in Washington contributes $4.5 billion dollars in economic impact to the state and supports more than 25,000 jobs.