Saturday, August 3, 2013

Yakima Valley, Washington --- Wine Country

Roger here....   This post is from the Yakima Valley of Washington, which is known for the cultivation of great fruit and the production of very good wine.  As you can see from the opening photo, we have left the cool, green parts of the Pacific Northwest and have arrived in the much drier, warmer, and less green climate on the east side of the mountains.

Just a little explanation before talking about this area --- Some of you who know us well have probably figured out that we have been pretty far behind with our postings.  Visits with friends and family have necessitated writing the posts some time after the events actually occurred.  By the time you read this post and the previous post (Mt. Rainier),  I will be in Indiana doing some consulting work with my former employer while Dianne has some quiet time with the dogs in Salt Lake City.  There won't be much to post about during the next two weeks, but we should finally be closer to real time.

After a relatively short drive from the Mt. Rainier area, we arrived at the Wine Country RV Park in Prosser, WA around noon.  We checked in.  Turned on the air conditioning. Gave the dogs treats, and drove a couple miles to the Hogue Cellars.  We wanted to stop there because of a great Sangiovese wine from that winery that our friends John and Audrey shared with us last winter in Texas.  We were disappointed to learn that it is no longer produced.  We did taste some of the wines from that location, but only bought a bottle of merlot reserve and a bottle of tasty rose.  

It was still early in the day, so we dropped by the nearby Desert Wind tasting room.  Guess what!  They had Sangiovese (a little hard to find) --- Dianne's favorite.  It was good.  It was extremely reasonably priced.  We ended up buying nine bottles of Sangiovese and three bottles of a red blend that I liked.  I guess that made up for the money we did not spend at Hogue :-)

One of the activities that we enjoy in the tasting rooms is looking at all the wine-related paraphernalia and usually buying something we enjoy, but don't necessarily need.  The Desert Wind shop caught Dianne's fancy.  She bought some wine glass covers to keep the gnats out of the wine when sitting under our pergola in Texas, as well as some of those humorous wine napkins for our Texas happy hours.

The next morning we drove to a local fruit market where we bought cantaloupe, peaches and strawberries.  That afternoon we visiting three tasting rooms that were walking distance from our RV park, but we did not walk.  (It was in the mid-nineties).  We did not walk.  Our first stop was the Willow Crest tasting room, where we bought two bottles of Almond Roka Creme.  We will be pouring this over ice cream and in coffee (on special occasions).  Soooo good.  We also bought a dark blue wine glass made from a wine bottle to replace one that we broke last winter.

Next door was the most imaginative tasting room.  The Airfield winery was built to look like an airport hangar.  We only bought one bottle of Riesling there; however, I bought a baseball cap and Dianne picked out a t-shirt.  We like the wine here, but we really liked the logos on their stuff.

Our last stop was the Apex tasting room (only a block away).  We both really liked the wines here.  Again, like most wines from this region, they were very reasonably priced.  We bought a case --- half Syrah, half Cab.  We cannot buy any more wine or the motor home will be too heavy to make it over the next mountain range.

Since leaving Texas in April, we have visited four wine areas:  Temecula, CA;  Napa, CA; the Willamette Valley of Oregon; and the Yakima Valley of Washington.  My least favorite (for wine) was Temecula.  It was also pricey to taste and to buy, for no particular reason.  The town of Temecula is really nice, though.  Napa was fun and beautiful, but it was difficult to get to because of the traffic and kind of a hassle.  The wine was great there, but extremely expensive.  Also, they don't bother too much with gift shop items -- guess they don't feel the need to.  The Willamette Valley was the most beautiful, but we don't especially care for Pinots, which is the specialty of the place.  The Yakima Valley was far less pretentious than the other places, but for us, the wines were more of what we like.  It was also far, far less expensive; therefore, far more tempting to purchase.  We may well have wine shipped from here to Texas, if our growing supplies ever run low.

The places we visited in the Yakima Valley were nice, very appealing;  however, they did not have the elaborate landscaping of Napa or Oregon.  That is what we thought until we saw this place.  Oh, nevermind, it is a plant nursery.

After leaving Prosser, WA three days of driving (3-4 hours per day), with one-night stops in Baker City, Oregon and Hagerman, Idaho, brought us to Salt Lake City where I am writing this post.  (Well, as you know, I am actually in Indiana as you are reading this, but I wrote it in Salt Lake City).

The pet picture of the day shows Tequila keeping an eye on the open road.  It kind of reminds me of the Batman silhouette.  

This is my view as we travel the highways in the motor home -- the back of Tequila's head as she sits comfortably on my lap!  -- D.


heyduke50 said...

there are some nice wineries just east of you in between Yakima and the tri-cities area of Richmond Washington...

klbexplores said...

I actually know someone in Sunnyside just north of Prosser so I have my own private RV pad available any time I want. I luv Prosser... a neat little excursion plus the valley also has plenty of fruit and veggies in season! A perfect place to eat and drink!

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

You just cannot visit to many wineries:)