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The Snipes Mountain AVA is Born Today! Someone tell the Washington Wine Commission!!!


So Mutineer Magazine has staked a claim here in the Pacific NW in the name of raw, old-school journalism. We came here to get the first hand story on this mysterious corner of the fine beverage universe, but things have become complicated since we got picked up for National distribution by one of the world’s leading distributors, and ever since our world has been a circus at best and depraved sweatshop of the printed word at its worst.

Well today I’m glad to say that we are witnessing a tiny miracle here in the most Northwest corner of America’s America, for the Snipes Mountain AVA is officially official. This is an event of cataclysmic magnitude, to have a mighty AVA birthed from the loins of the mighty state of Washington can only be described as epic.

The creation of an AVA, or American Viticultural Area, is a monstrously tedious and time-consuming task, so when one does get created, it is a very cool thing. I checked out the Washington Wine Commission’s website for more info, but apparently the Commission isn’t recognizing the new AVA as there is ZERO information about it on the website, not even a press release. I called the WWC, and after navigating my way through their massive phone tree only to find the receptionist was unavailable, I called back, re-navigated my way through the massive phone tree only to have to listen to the entire staff roster to get to the extension I needed, except I started dialing the extension just before hearing the last number, causing the system to freeze and me having to guess the fateful last number, which I got wrong, forcing me to redial the WCC again, and wait through the long canned speech and staff roster, only to find that the “Senior Communications Manager” was not available to communicate with me, so I left a message. It blows my mind that with news as epic as a new AVA, the combined efforts of the Washington Wine Commission’s “Marketing & Events Coordinator”, “Education Director”, “Senior Marketing Manager”, “Senior Communications Manager”, “Executive Director”, “Marketing Director” and “Communications Director” have been bested in terms of getting the word out about this AVA by a single, lone writer who is a visitor in the Washington Frontier.

The region is 4,145 acres and located near Yakima, WA. According to the Tri-City Herald, “Growers first planted vineyards on Snipes Mountain between 1914 and 1917.” Yes, this AVA is the real deal.

I wish I could find more info on this new AVA, but given that the Washington Wine Commission is in the dark on this one, I’ll just riff on the name a bit. I mean, who wouldn’t want to put “Snipes Mountain” on their wine bottle? What an awesome AVA name. It is clear that the AVA is named after Snipes Mountain, but what is Snipes Mountain named after? I have two very educated guesses:

First you have the very cool “Common Snipe”, which is a species of bird. I was convinced this was the correct answer until I discovered that the Snipe is a wading bird species, and there is not much water to wade in Snipes Mountain country. Also, the bird is only found in New Zealand…FAIL.

So by the process of elimination, I must believe that Snipes Mountain is named after none-other than Wesley Snipes, who is best known for the art house masterpiece New Jack City.


  1. Jesse M. | Friday, February 20, 2009

    I had no idea about this? I went the wine commission’s website too and found nothing. weird?

  2. Alan Kropf | Friday, February 20, 2009

    Clearly the Washington Wine Commission website isn’t a good source of info. I suggest following Wine Peeps (www.winepeeps.com) blog for better information.

  3. Kori | Friday, February 20, 2009

    I got a kick out of your name guesses. While your conclusion is more fun, according to the Upland Winery website:
    “Snipes Mountain was named after cattle king Ben Snipes, who was the first to settle the Yakima Valley and who made his vast cattle business headquarters on the south side of Snipes Mountain in the 1850’s.”

  4. Washington Wine Commission = EPIC FAIL, Bloggers = EPIC SUCCESS | Mutineer Magazine | Friday, February 20, 2009

    […] to figure out how and why the Washington Wine Commission could botch this up so badly. I posted a blog about it earlier today and have already had two Washington wineries contact me after reading the […]

  5. Kris | Friday, February 20, 2009

    Alan thanks for dropping some knowledge here man! What would we do without you??

  6. Washington State gets new AVA | Monday, February 23, 2009

    […] The link from the Washington Wine Commisssion was posted days after our friends at Mutineer Magazine called them out on this issue. […]

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