Willow Crest Estate
Appellation: Yakima Valley Planted Vineyard
Planted Vineyard Acres: 194
Planted Varieties: Predominantly Riesling and Pinot Gris, supplemented by Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Gewurztraminer.
Topography: The Willow Crest Estate Vineyard is at 1,300-feet elevation. Elevation and sloping ensure an advantage when the cold winter days hit. A warmer temperature difference of up to 15 degrees from other AVAs is not uncommon. The infamous winter of 2003 hit some record lows in the Yakima Valley with some areas reporting -17 Fahrenheit. Fortunately, because of elevation and sufficient air drainage, the temperatures at the Willow Crest Vineyard only dipped as low as -3 Fahrenheit.
Soils: Silt loam and fractured basalt rock.
Deficit Irrigation: Drip systems only use 30 percent of the water that overhead sprinklers require. Throughout the growing season, we control the vigor of the vine by restricting water flow, “deficit irrigation.” This controls the growth of the canopy and lets the vines concentrate on producing quality grapes. Willow Crest Estate Vineyard is part of the Roza Irrigation district at the northernmost area of Prosser.
Growing Seasons: Minick Vineyard Riesling and Pinot Gris have a relatively long growing season as the vineyard sits at a higher elevation than most in the Yakima Valley. This allows the fruit to be slightly cooler during the hotter months of the growing season and pushes the ripening to the end of October where most vineyards have harvested a month earlier to avoid frost; all of these factors lead to naturally bright acidity.
Interesting Fact: The Minick family has been growing vinifera grapes since 1982. Their Willow Crest Estate Vineyard boasts older and newer phases of planting for continued, vigorous production.