From Farm to Glass in the Yakima Valley

Inspired by the quality of local hops, winegrapes, and other fruits, Yakima Valley artisans are handcrafting beverages that make us say "Cheers."

Published: 2/01/2015

Inspired by the quality of local hops, winegrapes, and other fruits, Yakima Valley artisans are handcrafting beverages that make us say "Cheers."

Did you know that Yakima Valley is home to the largest variety of produce in the Pacific Northwest, including 78 percent of the hops grown in the entire nation? With fields, farms, and orchards at every turn, it’s so easy to eat local in this abundant sun-kissed land. It’s also inspirational. It seems that with each passing month more artisans are unveiling unique beverages inspired by local ingredients. Yakima Valley is fast becoming the craft beverage center of the Pacific Northwest.

Yakima Valley is already known for its 80-plus wineries and 13,000 acres of vineyards. Established in 1983, it’s the state of Washington’s oldest appellation and produces roughly one-third of its total grapes. One Yakima Valley winery, Treveri Sparkling Wine House, is Washington’s only winery that exclusively produces Sparkling wine. “Our guests come here to learn about and taste a product they won’t find anywhere nearby,” says Treveri’s Julie Grieb. There are also several Yakima Valley Tasting Routes to follow.

Long referred to as Hoptown, USA, Yakima Valley is just now becoming known for its fine locally crafted beers. Meghann Quinn and her two brothers are great grandchildren of the farmers who planted some of the Valley's first hops. Today, they manage a 900-plus acre hop farm that specializes in growing hops for the burgeoning craft beer industry and their own Bale Breaker Brewing Company, located in the middle of a hop field. “Not only do guests learn about hops and get to touch and smell the plant, they really enjoy our large patio and lawn area,” Meghann says.

Apples are certainly not new to Yakima Valley but artisancrafted hard cider is. It has been just five years since third-generation Yakima Valley farmer, Craig Campbell, and his wife Sharon decided to start Tieton Cider Works. They recently opened the Tieton Cider Bar in Yakima, and it’s the talk of the town for its enlightening tasting flights and Growler-fill program. “I’m thrilled to be part of the Cider revolution,” Sharon says, “and thinking about where we can take this industry.”

Beyond apples, Yakima Valley’s sweet delicious cherries, grapes, apricots, peaches, pears, and plums are a source of inspiration for one creative team of partners including Cragg Gilbert and Thomas Hale. They built the Valley’s fourth distillery, Glacier Basin Distillery, to produce an enticing menu of distilled spirits derived from orchard fruits. “Our tasting room guests are impressed with the fact that we produce our fruit brandies and vodka using locally grown fruit from our on-site location, Hackett Ranch,” Thomas says.

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As seen in the issue Pacific Northwest Spring 2015 of Touring & Tasting Magazine.