There are some names that are instantly recognizable to most people when it comes to wine regions, Bordeaux, Napa, and of course, Prosser. Okay, so maybe Prosser is not on the list of most recognizable wine locales, but for those who live in the Northwest, it should certainly be a name to become familiar with.

2008918181 The city of Prosser is located between Yakima and the Tri-Cities, making it a convenient destination for visitors from both areas. Until my trip to Washington last June, I was not very at all familiar with Prosser. Even for those who are located within the state of Washington, especially the Western side, it seems like Prosser often plays the role of Jan to Walla Walla's Marsha. Despite the occasional bypass from the Seattle crowd in favor of the city they named twice, Prosser has a lot to offer visitors. 

The most important thing for any wine tourism push is, not surprisingly, wine. Prosser currently boasts over 40 wineries, and is the home of some very well respected wineries. Prosser is the home of Hogue Cellars, one of Washington's largest and most widely distributed wineries. You will also find a great mixture of other established names, such as Alexandria Nicole Cellars, and many up and coming wineries. Many of the tasting rooms are open daily, meaning that your visit doesn't have to be limited to the weekend to get the most of a tasting excursion. There are also a couple of areas that offer you the opportunity to hit several locations with little travel between. As you first exit Interstate 82 you also have the opportunity to visit a number of wineries located within a short distance, including Hogue, Alexandria Nicole, and Mercer Estates. Prosser's Vintner's Villiage is another great stop that features ten different wineries within walking distance, including Gamache Vintners, Airfield Estates, and Milbrandt Vineyards

In addition to the wines found in the area, Prosser also boasts one of the rising stars in Washington Cuisine. Chef Frank Magaña moved to the area in 2007 and opened Picazo 717, a restaurant specializing in Spanish influenced dishes. Since that time Chef Magaña has become involved in other culinary endeavors in the area, including Mojave at Desert Wind Winery. You will also find a selection of shopping, including the delectable Chukar Cherries shop.

PA210038_2 Prosser has the feel of an area with a lot of potential for growth. The presence of fine dining offers an incentive for tourists that didn't exist until recently, and a planned expansion of the Vintner's Villiage offers even more opportunity to grow into an area that offers everything needed for a true wine destination. For now, Prosser is worth the visit for the wines that it offers.

Vintner's Villiage Image taken from the Seattle Times