Andrew Will Winery is on Vashon Island, a small island in the Puget Sound just west of Seattle, Washington. The winery was founded in 1989 by Chris Camarda, a restaurant industry veteran who named his winery after his son Will and nephew Andrew. Camarda sources his wines from vineyards in Eastern Washington, some of which he owns. Camarda focuses on blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc made in the style of Bordeaux. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called Camarda “one of America’s finest producers of Merlot” and Andrew Will wines consistently earn high ratings from reviewers.
Yakima Valley AVA was the first AVA created in Washington State. The valley, a 600,000-acre area in south central Washington, was granted AVA status in 1983. In 1984 Columbia Valley was given AVA status, and Yakima Valley was enclosed within the Columbia Valley AVA. Nevertheless, Yakima Valley remains home to the largest concentration of vineyards and wineries in the state. There are more than 60 wineries and some 16,000 vineyard acres, and nearly 40% of Washington wines are made with Yakima Valley grapes. The most frequently planted grape is Chardonnay, followed by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaking here dates to 1869, when a winemaker from Alsace planted grape vines. Vineyard planting and wine production plodded along slowly until the early 1980s when numerous modern pioneers started making well-reviewed Yakima Valley wines. Some of the state’s newest, most closely watched appellations, including Red Mountain AVA and Horse Heaven Hills AVA, are contained within Yakima Valley.