Prosser, WA: Washington’s Hidden Gem

Recently, I was contacted by the Prosser Wine Network to spend time in their quaint town and taste the fabulous wines that come from there, and the neighboring AVA, the Horse Heaven Hills.

Before I go into my weekend, I want to share a little bit of history on Prosser and it’s importance to Washington Wine. In 1879, Captain William Prosser surveyed the land in the town now known as Prosser and in 1882, claimed a homestead there. He filed for township in 1885, but never returned to the town upon being elected as Yakima County’s auditor. In 1887, the Hilzinger family placed a flour mill in the area, thus encouraging more settlement in the area. Fast forward a few years to 1919. Washington State University established an Irrigation Experiment Station in the town of Prosser. This lead to Prosser being a hub for agriculture and agricultural research. One of those researchers was a man by the name of Dr. Walter Clore.

Walter Clore came to Washington State University (then known as Washington State College) in 1934 to study horticulutre. In 1937, he was approached to help staff the Irrigation Experiment Station. While he was testing all sorts of fruits and vegetables in his 40 years as a researcher for Washington State, he cultivated an interest in growing wine grapes. In 1960, he partnered with a microbiologist and Napa Valley native, Charles Nagel, to find out just which grapes would thrive and where. From there, the Washington Wine Industry was given an opportunity to flourish and Prosser had another moniker to add to their legacy…the birthplace of Washington Wine.

In 2003, the Washington State Legislature officially recognized Dr. Clore as the Father of the Washington State Wine Industry. On May 30, 2014, the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center opened to the public.

Now that you’ve gotten a lesson on Washington Wine, let’s move on to the weekend.

Malbec Vertical at Hogue
Malbec Vertical at Hogue

I joined the group at Hogue Cellars in Prosser for a Malbec tasting. Can I just say that Washington Malbec is absolutely amazing? It’s almost better than chocolate, but chocolate still squeaks by in the #1 position. Do what you can to get your hands on some. You won’t be disappointed. The manner in which you approach getting your hands on some Washington Malbec is out of my hands, though. However you got it is between you, your chosen creator and (possibly) the man or woman with the handcuffs.

The view from the Mercer Estate Ranch House
The view from the Mercer Estate Ranch House

Our accomodations for the weekend were at the beautiful Mercer Wine and Mercer Canyons Ranch House. The view above is from the patio/pool area, where I sat with 4 other bloggers and chatted the night of our arrival. Yes, this is really my job. Drinking wine while overlooking such a stunning view…yeah. My life sucks. 😉 I wouldn’t trade it for anything…wait, okay…*almost* anything in the world. Wait. No. Even my caveats or the people I would give this up for don’t compare, so I can confidently say that I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. (Apologies in advance to my future husband, whoever he may be. I’m sorry that your work trips suck in comparison, honey. Here, have some wine…)

IMG_7692Rows of vines in Champoux Vineyards

IMG_7694Grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills

The next morning, we made our way from the Mercer Ranch Estates into the town of Prosser, but we took the “long way” that took us past the Mercer family vineyards and farms, plus the highly acclaimed Champoux Vineyards, which was planted by the Mercer family. After stopping for the photo opportunities documented above, we made our way to Daven Lore Winery.

Daven Lore is situated just outside of Prosser. With a stunning view of the city of Prosser from their facility, you never want to leave the area. We were lucky enough to enjoy breakfast at the home of the winemaker, which is also situated on the property. After a fulfilling breakfast, we made our way into the winery for a tour and tasting.

IMG_7699View from Daven Lore Winery

IMG_7705Our lineup at Daven Lore

Daven Lore may very well be the most hidden gem in the Prosser area. From a crisp rosé to an opulent Syrah-based Port style wine, the offerings of Daven Lore do not disappoint.

From Daven Lore, I went on to Walla Walla (yes, there is a post coming on that adventure as well), as I had made plans before I was contacted about extending my stay in Prosser. If you’re curious about the other wineries that were visited, please visit the websites of my fellow bloggers who were on the trip: Ravenous Traveler, Sacred Drop, Wild 4 Washington Wine, and Decanter Banter.

Thank you to the Prosser Wine Network, Mercer Estates, Chef Kristin Johnson of Martilla’s Kitchen (who provided us with a delicious meal on Friday night), Hogue Cellars and all of the wineries involved with the Prosser Wine Network! I look forward to my next Prosser adventure!

Disclaimer: This trip was provided by Prosser Wine Network in exchange for postings on this blog and on social media.

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