Exploring the Wine Glass

Winephabet Street; H is for Horse Heaven Hills

January 17, 2018

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Welcome to Winephabet Street! 


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Now onto Horse Heaven Hills

 Horse Heaven Hills is a 570,000-acre stretch of land located in South Central Washington state along the Columbia River. First established in 2005, the Horse Heaven Hills AVA is part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. Surrounded by the Yakima Valley AVA on the north and the Columbia River on the south, HHH has elevations that range from 200 feet above sea level in the south to 1,800 feet above sea level at the northern boundary. 


If you are a historical buff, you will be familiar with this area as it was described by Lewis and Clark in their journal from October 1805. "In every direction from the junction of those rivers the Country is one Continued plain low and rises from the water gradually, except a range of high Country which runs from S. W & N E and is on the opposite Side about 2 miles distant from the Columbia and keeping its direction S W until it joins a S W. range of mountains." In fact, their campsite was at the junction of the Snake River and the Columbia River which is now the location of Washington's Sacajawea State Park.


The name, Horse Heaven Hills, was given thanks to James Gordon Kenny in 1867  who proclaimed, “This is surely a horse heaven” and termed the phrase, Horse Heaven Hills. Throughout the years, wild horses roamed the area. In the 1920s with the hard times, many people decided to release the horses in to the wild, rather than continue to pay the upkeep. As more people moved into the area, the wild horses began to be seen as pests and in 1939 Time magazine reported one company in Portland was said to have killed 350,000 horses in the area, and shipped the meat overseas. But their numbers still remained. During the 1960s, the government gave the order to get rid of them and in less than three decades, they were gone.


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