Eastern Washington Wine Country

Friday my mom and I headed over the mountains to Eastern Washington wine country. Even though we left in the late morning it still took us almost 45 minutes to make it over the pass. We stopped to stretch our legs and have a picnic lunch we had packed. We heard later that evening it was taking some people up to 4 hours!

After checking in to our hotel in Sunnyside we headed out to do some wine tasting. We went to the wine village in Prosser which has about ten wineries. First stop was at Airfield Estates Winery where I bought a bottle of Mustang a red wine which is a mix of Syrah, Grenache, Sinsault, Mourvedre and Counoise grapes. Their tasting room was really great. Lots of leather seating and plane inspired memorabilia. I asked who were the fliers at the winery and was told they grow their grapes where there used to be an old airfield.

Next stop was Willow Crest Winery where my mom bought a bottle of their Riesling. Our last stop of the day was at Milbrandt Winery where they have a restaurant as well. The tasting sheet listed suggested food pairings to go along with the different wines.

Our hotel room had a fridge and microwave so we were able to bring food with us and save money not eating out for every meal. This particular hotel also provided a hot breakfast in the morning. Eggs, potatoes, biscuits & gravy, sausage, cereal and waffles. There was something for everyone. Our room had a winery view as well.

Saturday morning we headed back to Prosser to the Farmer’s Market and stopped at Chukar Cherries where we were able to sample many of the treats they offer in their gift shop. The cherry chipotle jam was to die for! We stopped at another gift shop down the street and then headed off for our wine tastings of the day.

First stop was Desert Wind Winery where my mom and I shared a tasting. My mom ended up buying a bottle of their Tempranillo which was amazing. They also had suggested pairings on their tasting list and the smells coming from their restaurant were divine.

We took the Yakima Valley highway for the next stop on our winery tour and had the opportunity to get out and take some photos of hop fields and a vineyard.

In Outlook we stopped at Tefft Cellars. This place was really off the beaten path and we were the only ones there so were able to chat with the gal there for quite a bit. She had us try some port. I had mentioned that a friend said there was a winery in the area that had an amazing chocolate Port. My mom purchased a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay and we headed off to our next stop.

In Zillah we stopped at Horizon’s Edge Winery where I was excited to taste some ports including the chocolate one I had heard so much about. This tasting room had the best fee. Only $3 per person and you could go to their sister winery down the road and present your punch card and taste there as well. So, two tastings for $3. They had five ports to try and they were all really good. The Cream Sherry was not too sweet and heavy which was nice. Of course my mom and I loved and both purchased the Wishful Thinking Chocolate Port. They had a raspberry as well but it was a bit too syrupy for my taste. It did go nicely with the chocolate – raspberries and chocolate, two of my favorite combos! There was a small picnic table outside so mom and I had a small lunch we had packed and continued on our way.

Down the road we stopped at Horizon’s sister winery Maison de Padgett where we sampled more ports. They also had five offerings. They were out of the vanilla which was disappointing. The peach was way too much for me. They had an apple port which I thought was interesting and not too bad. The one I walked away with was the Smoking Gun Coffee Port. I can’t wait to try mixing the chocolate and coffee together! Both of these Horizon’s Edge and Maison de Padgett also had very reasonable prices for their wines.

While at Maison de Padgett we experienced our first bus load of winery tourists. It was a good thing we got there when we did because soon the tasting room became packed with people in colorful leis!

My mom wanted to go to Saturday evening church services so I went down to a little cafe near our hotel and had a coffee. Near the patio there was a very large iron Eiffel Tower – forgot to get a photo of that. It was wonderful to sit out on the patio with my iced coffee. Even though it got to 73 that day there was a wind blowing which was nice and warm and comfortable.

That evening for dinner I was feeling Italian. We headed back to Prosser to Tuscany Rustic Italian Bistro. We celebrated our winery weekend with before dinner drinks. I had a Grey Goose dirty martini and my mom had an Appletini. I had the Bistecca Gorgonzola which was a grilled fillet topped with sun-dried tomatoes, onions, gorgonzola cheese and a Demiglaze balsamic reduction. It came with green beans and a house salad. My mom had the Salmon Florentine which was salmon topped with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and bleu cheese over lemon pasta also with a house salad. We washed our dinner down with plenty of water and a glass of Airfield Estates Runway Cabernet Sauvignon.

The next morning we ate another fabulous breakfast, checked out of our hotel and headed to Toppenish. This small town’s claim to fame is a series of 72 murals painted on buildings around town. Most reflect like in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. My favorite mural was the Polo one. We got out and walked around. The amazing thing my mom noticed was that none of the murals had any graffiti on them. Downtown was small and cute and clean.

We headed back to Zillah to Silver Lake Winery which my mom is a member of. Again here we chose to share a tasting. They were getting ready for an afternoon barbecue and it smelled amazing. The view of the vineyard was truly breathtaking.

Our last stop before heading for home was in Wapato called Piety Flats Winery. Their tasting room was inside the Donald Fruit and Mercantile built in 1911 that also housed a gift shop. This area was the first in the Yakima valley to have irrigation.

We headed west and stop for lunch again before making it home in the afternoon. In was a jam-packed two days and nice to get away.


1 Comment

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One response to “Eastern Washington Wine Country

  1. I’ve had some of the Milbrandt Vineyards Chardonnay before. I’m usually not a white wine fan, but I did like it quite a bit. I’ve not done Washington State Wine tour, but it sounds like a ton of fun. I’ve not tried any of the ports out of Washington…I didn’t realize that any were coming out of that region. Sounds interesting.

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