Established 1984

Washington’s largest viticultural region, Columbia Valley covers almost 11 million acres and encompasses the Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain, and Wahluke Slope AVAs within its borders. Over 30,000 vineyard acres, representing a number of meso- and micro-climates are planted on predominately south-facing slopes on sandy loam to silt loam soils. Water from mountain snow pack, delivered to the vineyards via the Yakima and Columbia Rivers, provides ample water for irrigation.


Mercer Estates Winery Brooks Vineyard

Brooks Vineyard

Significance of name: The Brooks vineyard was purchased by Mike Hogue from Keith Brooks in 1981. The 100 acre property was a mint farm and came with a mint still to extract mint oil. Mike farmed mint for about 5 years before planting approximately 40 acres to wine grapes and 40 acres to hops. The hops were removed about 7 years ago and more wine grapes and concords were planted. Currently there are 67 acres of wine grapes, 11 acres of concords and 10 acres of Golden Delicious apples. A noteworthy point is the old mint still processing shed was the original building where Mike Hogue’s first crush for Hogue Cellars started in the fall of 1982. They cellared, bottled and stored 1000 cases of Chenin blanc and 1000 cases of White Riesling in that building and the following 4 years continued as barrel storage for Hogue Cellars.

Size: 88 farmed acres – 67 in wine grapes, 10 blocks
Aspect: North to South row orientation – 1 block of WR is oriented East to West
Location: Prosser – SW corner of Gap and Evans, ~ 4 miles from office headquarters
Soil: sandy loam, slightly variable across site – some shallow areas
Varieties Planted: WR 41%, CS 19%, MR 20%, PG 15%, CH 5% – also 11 acres Concord + 10 acres Golden Delicious apples.
Year Planted/Expanded: 1985, 1986, 1996, 2005 (PG+WR)
Microclimate: Cooler – Long Term Average GDD = 2536′
Appellation: Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley
Unique Aspects: Estate Vineyard, slightly cooler, best for whites.
Average Yield: typically 6T/A for whites and 4T/A for reds.
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioned with 3 fixed canopy wires on younger PG and WR. Older blocks have a 2 wire fixed VSP.

Farming Practices: All vine rows are oriented from north to south except the older block of WR which is oriented east to West. All blocks are drip irrigated, spur pruned and cordon trained to a “Vertically Shoot Positioned” trellis with 2 or 3 fixed canopy wires. Vine spacing for older vines are planted ten feet between rows and 6 feet between vines (726v/a). Spacing for the younger PG + WR (Mercer grapes) is 9 feet between rows and 7 feet between vines (691v/a). The vines are managed for fruit production in year 3. This allows for optimum vine health, improved vine to vine uniformity, enhances consistent yields earlier and reduces the risk for poor stand and long term retraining efforts.

Vineyard management of all blocks is organized and timely. Current integrated pest management and sustainability practices are priorities and always implemented. For example with pest control, we elect to use softer pesticides (biologicals, oils etc.) that do less harm to beneficial insects and the environment. Vines are cordon suckered at about 3-6 inches of growth. Cordon suckering is the early removal of unnecessary non-count shoots. Selective leaf removal on the east side of canopy is standard protocol and if needed, a second leaf removal pass to fine tune canopies can be accomplished. Crop estimations are made in late July when berries are pea size or larger. Cluster thinning recommendations are made and target yield adjustments are accomplished by veraison. Follow up estimates are made on blocks that appear over cropped and a second thinning pass can be accomplished.

Once berry color reaches 80% visible, a green color thinning pass (removal of secondary fruit or late maturing fruit) is accomplished. Pinot Gris does quite often retain many seconds and green thinning is important for this variety. Vines are closely inspected for insect and disease incidence, monitored and controlled accordingly. All vines are machine harvested unless special requests are made.


Mercer Estates Winery Spring Creek Vineyard

Spring Creek Vineyard

Significance of name: Spring Creek is the name of a small live flowing creek (flows all year long) adjacent and through the vineyard located in north Prosser off of McDonald Road. The vineyard is also known as Headquarters. Spring Creek is the original home place where Wayne Hogue (Mike’s Dad) began farming hops in 1949 for Amos Berlot. Berlot was killed by a train wreck in 1954 and Wayne eventually purchased 40 acres from him and continued to expand acreage from then on. The original home where Mike and Gary were raised is on the Spring Creek vineyard and still stands to this day housing a key vineyard Forman and his family. The old office, shop and hop processing facility (still functioning) were sold in 2008 and our current new office and shop were built in 2009 and is located just west of the Spring Creek vineyard.

Size: 330 acres of wine and concord grapes, 22 blocks
Aspect: Majority of blocks have North and South row orientation
Location: 5 miles North of Prosser
Soil: Sandy loam, fairly deep
Varieties Planted: WR 47%, SB 8%, PG 7%, 38% Concord
Year Planted/Expanded: 1979, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, expanding 2011
Microclimate: Cooler – Long Term Average GDD = 2536
Appellation: Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley
Unique Aspects: Original home site, cooler site – good for whites, sloped blocks, consistent uniform soils – source of estate Mercer WR and SB. Home of the original Schwartzman and HCM white Riesling blocks first planted for Hogue Cellars 1979 – still producing.
Average Yield: All varieties 5-6.0T/A
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioned with 2 or 3 fixed canopy wires

Farming Practices: All vine rows are oriented generally from north to south, drip irrigated, spur pruned and cordon trained to a “Vertically Shoot Positioned” trellis with 3 fixed canopy wires. Schwartzman and HCM have 2 fixed wires. Vines are trained to a modified sprawl system. Older blocks are planted 10 feet between rows and 7 feet between vines for a vine density of 622 vines per acre. Younger vines are planted to 691 vines per acre (7X9 spacing) or 807 vines per acre (6X9 spacing). The vines are managed for fruit production in year 3. This allows for optimum vine health, improved vine to vine uniformity, enhances consistent yields earlier and reduces the risk for poor stand and long term retraining efforts.

Vineyard management of all blocks is organized and timely. Current integrated pest management and sustainability practices are priorities. Vines are cordon suckered at about 3-6 inches of growth. Cordon suckering is the early removal of unnecessary non-count shoots. Selective leaf removal on the east side of canopy is standard protocol and if needed, a second leaf removal pass to fine tune canopies can be accomplished. Crop estimations are made in late July when berries are pea size or larger. Cluster thinning recommendations are made and target yield adjustments are accomplished by veraison for all varieties. Follow up estimates are made on blocks that appear over cropped and a second thinning pass can be made if necessary.

Once berries soften (veraison) a green color thinning pass (removal of secondary fruit or late maturing fruit) is accomplished on most varieties. For example, Pinot Gris retains many seconds and green thinning is important for this variety. Vines are closely inspected for insect and disease incidence, monitored and controlled accordingly. All vines are machine harvested unless special requests are made.