Alexandria Nicole Cellars--Destiny Ridge Tasting Room
158422 Sonova Road
Phone: (509) 832-3877
Those who venture off the main highway to Alexandria Nicole Cellars' remote winery and tasting room are rewarded by a chance to stroll scenic grounds overlooking the Columbia River before or after tasting excellent wines. Book a stay in the winery's quaint tiny houses (reservations required, space is limited) for a quiet escape among the vineyards.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars--Prosser Tasting Room
2880 Lee Road, Ste. D
Phone: (509) 786-3497
This pioneering, 15,000-case-a-year winery produces luscious wines from grapes grown on its estate vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills. The red Bordeaux and Rhône varietals and blends are all solid, as is its particularly notable Shepherds Mark white Rhône blend. Wine Club members are fêted at release parties and receive access to VIP lounges in its Prosser and Woodinville tasting rooms, which makes it tempting to join the wine club.
14 N. Front St.
Phone: (509) 961-8371
Anthony (aka Anto) and Linda (aka Lin) Haralson pour samples of their eclectic wine lineup—riesling, viognier, cab sauv, merlot and syrah—in their downtown Yakima tasting room. The wines are sourced from their 5-acre vineyard and additional sites.
1413 E. Edison Ave.
Phone: (509) 643-4569
The Shiels family produces about 2,500 cases a year of varietals and blends sourced from their esteemed 45-acre DuBrul Vineyard. The highlights include their flagship cab sauv–merlot blend.
Coyote Canyon Winery
357 Port Ave.
Phone: (509) 786-7686
The owners are a longtime Horse Heaven Hills farming family whose 20-acre plot of cabernet sauvignon, planted in 1994, has grown into a 1,125-acre vineyard, producing 25 varietals. In addition to providing fruit for other wineries, including Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste. Michelle, Coyote Canyon also produces a line of elegantly exhilarating wines of its own, available in its tasting room in the Winemakers Loft, near downtown Prosser.
2258 Wine Country Road
Phone: (509) 786-7277
Established by Doug and Jo Ann Fries, who also founded Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee, Ore., in 1984, Desert Wind focuses primarily on Bordeaux varietals. Its Pueblo-inspired winery and tasting room, right off I-82 in Prosser, next to the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center, provides a comfortable, inviting setting.
Gilbert Cellars-Tasting Room
5 N. Front St., Ste. 100
Phone: (509) 249-9049
The Gilbert family's tasting room in downtown Yakima offers a fun, convenient setting to sample wines that include a bright Provençal-style rosé and complex Bordeaux- and Rhône-style bottlings. The family's roots in the Yakima Valley date back to 1897, and their orcharding skills have lent to a smooth transition to viticulture and winemaking.
2620 Draper Road
Phone: (509) 249-9049
Tours and tastings of the Gilbert family's scenic winery site, the Hackett Ranch, are open by appointment only, but the grounds are open to larger crowds during the annual Spring Barrel Tasting weekend, the winery's Music in the Vines concert series and when it hosts other special events. The wines include a bright Provençal-style rosé and Bordeaux- and Rhône-style wines sourced from vineyards in multiple Columbia Valley locations, most notably the Wahluke Slope and Horse Heaven Hills AVAs.
357 Port Ave.
Phone: (509) 786-0004
Among the wineries with tasting rooms in Prosser's WInemakers Loft, McKinley Springs produces delicious wines from its estate vineyard in the nearby Horse Heaven Hills. Its popular Bombing Range red and white blends pay homage to the military heroes of the World War II–era, when the family's land served as a training ground for U.S. fighter pilots.
Mercer Family Vineyards
3100 Lee Road
Phone: (509) 786-2097
The Mercer family's roots run deep in Prosser and Horse Heaven Hills, dating back to the late 19th century, when Willis Mercer arrived from Illinois. The family's vineyard plantings date back to 1972, and Rob Mercer, a great-grandson of Willis Mercer, and his wife, Brenda, established Mercer Estates in 2005. The winery produces wines in three tiers, ranging from approachable (Mercer Canyon) to premium (Mercer Estates) to ultra-premium (Mercer Reserves), with wines sourced primarily from estate vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills and Yakima Valley. The winery tasting room is near the Prosser Wine & Food Park and just a freeway underpass away from the Walter Clore Center and Desert Wind. The Mercers also operate a tasting room in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood.
Naches Heights Vineyard
1857 Weikel Road
Phone: (509) 966-4355
The winery places a premium on sustainability, producing intense wines from grapes grown through organic or biodynamic practices, whenever possible. Its tasting room is open by appointment only.
309 Gangl Road
Phone: (509) 877-0454
Owen Roe's premium cabernet sauvignons, red Rhône varietals, chardonnays and blends contain a mix of estate fruit and those sourced from prestigious Washington sites. The tasting room at the winery (pictured above, photo by Francois Dereeper) offers samples of the full lineup, comprising wines from just about every price point.
71 Gangl Road
Phone: (509) 877-0925
One of the state’s most innovative wineries, family-owned Treveri specializes in méthode champenoise sparking wines made with Washington fruit, including syrah, riesling and gerwürztraminer, in addition to pinot noir and chardonnay. Founder Jurgen Grieb was born and raised in Trier, Germany, where he studied wine making, before coming to Washington in the 1980s.
Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center
2140 Wine Country Road
Phone: (509) 786-1000
Dr. Walter Clore is widely considered to be the father of Washington’s wine industry. In addition to conducting extensive research on vinefera as a horticulturalist at Washington State University in the 1960s and 70s, he also served as a consultant to the state’s early wineries, identifying sites suitable for various varietals. In the lower Yakima Valley, the center that bears his name brings an educational element to wine tasting. In addition to pouring wines from a different featured Washington growing region each month, the super knowledgeable staff is available to answer questions and provide tips on other wineries to visit, sort of like wine-tasting concierges. The retails shop carries an eclectic selection of prized finds from across the state, and, as a bonus, it is right next to the Desert Wind winery.
250 Ehler Road
Phone: (509) 966-0686
Committed to sustainability, Seattle-based Wilridge produces small lots of terroir-driven varietals and blends from grapes grown through biodynamic or organic practices whenever possible. Its super-quaint tasting room is inside a 100-year-old farmhouse set among orchards and vineyards, along the rim of Cowiche Canyon. In fact, from the parking lot, you can hike down into the canyon before or after a tasting. The grounds also have picnic space, and the winery hosts concerts and special events throughout spring and summer.