Established in 2005


Mercer Estates Spice Cabinet Vineyard

Spice Cabinet Vineyard

Spice Cabinet Vineyard, a unique 18-acre site adjacent to the Columbia River on the Mercer family farm. A deep sandy soil that has blown in over the rock bluffs above and a steep south east aspect creates site characteristics that are similar to areas in the Rhone. The early morning sun warms the site and its proximity to the river ensure a constant movement of airflow which provides the advantage of extra frost free days and lower mildew pressure. The site is planted to Grenache, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Mouvedre, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. It is truly our winery’s spice cabinet.

Soil Series:
Quincy; generally associated with excessively drained, coarse textured soils on dune-like terraces. The parent material was windblown sand derived from granite, basalt and quartzite.


Mercer Estates Dead Canyon Vineyard

Dead Canyon Vineyard

Significance of name: Dead Canyon is a canyon in the Horse Heaven Hills and is adjacent to this vineyard.

The Dead Canyon Vineyard is located on the sloped hills of Dead Canyon in the Horse Heaven Appellation of Washington State. The 325 acre vineyard has 27 unique blocks that have been developed over 4 phases beginning in 2006. The site has two distinct aspects due to the fact that it is planted on both canyon edges and thus has both a north and south face, both with approximately 10% slope. Planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon, the site, at elevation (780′) has great air drainage, well-drained cobbly silt loam soils and offers many different blending opportunities due to the variation in its slopes. The vineyard lies about 3 miles south of the original Mercer family farmstead.

The first vintage was in 2008 from phase I grapes approximately 60 acres. Phase II was planted in 2007 and represents the remaining 60 acres of the original center pivot site. This original 120 acre site is where Mercer Estate Winery fruit is sourced. Phase III was planted in 2009 and represents 71 acres (7 blocks of various sizes) on sloped sites located between existing center pivots around the canyon. We have coded those blocks with letters rather than the traditional numbers. Phase IV was planted in 2010 and represents 9 blocks totaling 140 acres – the blocks straddle both north and south facing slopes of Dead Canyon.

Size: 113 acres, 11 blocks
Aspect: North and South row orientation
Location: Alderdale Region approximately 50 miles SW of Prosser
Soil: sandy loam, uniform across site
Varieties Planted: 3 varieties – CS 67%, MR 29%, SY 4%
Year Planted/Expanded: 2006 and 2007
Microclimate: Warm – Long Term Average GDD = 3054
Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills (HHH)
Unique Aspects: HHH Appellation, Estate Vineyard, warmer, uniform soils, best for reds.
Average Yield: All varieties 4-4.5T/A.
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioned with 3 fixed canopy wires.

Soil Series: The North Side: #377 Lickskillet; generally associated with steep canyon lands. The parent material is a cobbly silt loam that formed under bunch grasses in a mixture of wind laid deposits and basalt residuum. It is underlain by basalt bedrock with 2 to 15 percent slope.

Soil Series: #533 Sagehill: generally associated with basins, a fine sandy loam with 5 to 10 percent slopes. The parent material is formed from lacustrine sediments with a mantle of loess.

The South Side: #537 Sagehill, generally associated with terraces, a deep fine sandy loam with 10 to 15 percent slopes. The parent material is formed from lacustrine sediments with a mantle of loess.

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. The vines for all blocks are planted nine feet between rows. Spacing between vines are seven feet. 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. The vines are trained to a modified sprawl system.

Vineyard management of all blocks is organized. Strategies for integrated pest management control 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. 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. 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 Big Teepee Vineyard

Big Teepee Vineyard

Big Teepee Vineyard, a small 5-acre site adjacent to the Mercer family farm office (thus the name), is a bit of an enigma with regards to our knowledge of terroir. First planted primarily as a landscape improvement, the vineyard consistently produces a Cabernet of extremely deep color with a very healthy dose of rich tannins. It is located at a lower elevation (640′), has no slope and is in a soil with higher clay content. Not ideal terroir in many ways but the soil composition is such that it really stands out as a unique and interesting Cabernet that we enjoy as a stand-alone or as a part of our blending options.

Soil Series:
#274 Prosser: generally associated with basins, a silt loam with 2 to 5 percent slope, this soil was formed under bunch grasses and sagebrush in silty alluvium and wind-deposited material overlying basalt bedrock.


Mercer Estates Zephyr Ridge Vineyard

Zephyr Ridge Vineyard

Significance of name: Zephyr Ridge Vineyard is located on a beautiful ridge named “Zephyr Ridge” overlooking the Horse Heaven Hills and the Columbia River near Paterson WA. The vineyard is part of the Horse Heaven Appellation of Washington State. The 215 acre vineyard has 35 unique blocks that were planted in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The vineyard has nearly 200 feet difference in elevation between blocks and up to 80 feet difference within blocks.

Zephyr Ridge is planted to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Viognier, Lemberger.

Size: 215 acres, 35 blocks
Aspect: Includes blocks with South, SE, SW and West row orientations
Location: 2 miles East Paterson WA.
Elevation: 570 -740 feet
Soil: shallow to deep, very sandy wind blown soil with some rock.
Varieties planted: CH, MR, VG, SN, ZN, PS, CS and SY
Years planted: 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Microclimate: Warm (2982 Heat Units)
Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills (HHH)
Unique aspects of vineyard: Estate Vineyard, warm site, river affect, slope affect
Average yield: All varieties 3.5-5 Tons per acre.
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Position trellis utilizing both fixed and moveable wires.
Spacing: 9′ between rows and 6′ between plants for a total of 807 plants per acre.

Farming practices: Red varieties are planted mainly on a south to SW exposure to collect more afternoon heat. The white varieties are planted mainly to blocks on a North to NW exposure which typically are cooler sites and allow for a bit more acid retention in berries. The vines are mechanically pre-pruned in December/January followed up by detailed hand pruning in February/March. The vines are spur pruned and cordon trained to a “Vertically Shoot Positioned” trellis. The vines are trained to a modified sprawl system. Vines are closely inspected for weed, insect and disease pressures, monitored and controlled accordingly. Strategies for integrated pest management and sustainability practices are priorities (i.e., composts, irrigation probe water management, cover crops, drip irrigation and insect and disease monitoring). Vines are cordon suckered at about 3-6 inches of growth. Selective leaf removal on the east side of canopy is standard protocol in June 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 prior to veraison. Follow up estimates are made on blocks that appear over cropped and a second thinning pass can be accomplished. Once berry color (veraison) reaches 80% visible, a green color thinning pass (removal of secondary fruit or late maturing fruit) is accomplished. The majority of the blocks are mechanically harvested.


Mercer Estates Block 93 Vineyard

Block 93 Vineyard

Significance of name: Three years ago two patriotic friends, each with a connection to the tragedy on 9/11 planted Block 93 at Mercer Canyons Ranch.

Between them, they had three reasons:

1. To show solidarity with American service workers and victims.
2. To benefit for service workers and families of victims of the fight against terrorism.
3. For the simple joy of giving back to the nation that we love.

John Derrick, Vineyard Manager at Mercer Canyons, lost his best friend, Richard Alexander, on Flight 93 as it crashed into the Pennsylvania farmland on September 11th. John later named his son Alexander, in honor of his late friend. And today, John personally tends to Block 93, giving it special attention and care.

Rob Mercer, President of Mercer Canyons, served as a Captain in US Marine Corps. After the World Trade Center terrorist attack on 9/11, he re-enlisted to serve in Iraq in 2007-2008.

When Rob returned, he and John talked over ways to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11. They decided to plant a vineyard and donate the proceeds from its operation to helping both victims of 9/11 and their families, and the service personnel who protect us each day.

Ground prep and planting on Block 93 began in 2009. This one-acre lot is dedicated entirely to charity. 911 vines rest on a south-facing slope in the Horse Heaven Hills, growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes earmarked for use in a premium wine.

The wine label for Block 93 is under development; we are still working out the donation process. So far, we have established that a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Friends of Flight 93 and help build a monument dedicated to the victims.

God Bless!

Size: 911 vines, planted on 1 acre
Aspect: Southern exposure
Location: Southern edge of Cavalie Vineyard in the Alderdale region (35 miles SW of Prosser)
Elevation: 800-820 feet
Soil: Deep and uniform sandy loam
Varieties planted: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Years planted: 2011
Microclimate: Warm – Long Term Average GDD 3054
Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills (HHH)
Unique aspects of vineyard: Located above Alderdale Canyon with 10% slope with beautiful views
Average yield: 2 – 3 T/A
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioned 2 fixed wires and 4 moveable wires
Spacing: 8’x6’

Soil series: Sage Hill fine sandy loam soil being very deep and well drained being formed in lacustrine sediments with a mantle of loess. Lacustrine deposits are very well sorted, devoid of coarse particles such as coarse sand or gravels, and are characterized by thin layers that reflect annual deposition of sediments. Still water in lakes permits very fine particles (fine sand, silt, and clay) to settle out and to form lacustrine deposits. These deposits get exposed by elevation of old lakebeds. Loess in the Horse Heaven Hills is an aeolian (process of the wind’s ability to shape the surface of the earth) sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. The Sage Hill Fine Sandy Loam is 0-4 inches – brown fine sandy loam, 4 to 20 inches – pale brown fine sandy loam, 20 to 38 inches – light gray fine sandy loam, 38 to 60+ inches – light brownish gray fine sandy loam.


Mercer Estates Cavalie Vineyard

Cavalie Vineyard

Size: 375 acres with 18 blocks, including Block 93
Aspect: Predominately South West and Southern row orientation
Location: Alderdale region (35 miles SW of Prosser, WA)
Elevation: 770-870 feet
Soil: Deep and uniform silt loam across site
Varieties planted: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot
Years planted: 2010-2012
Microclimate: Warm – Long Term Average GDD 3054
Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills (HHH)
Unique aspects of vineyard: Above Alderdale Canyon with excellent drainage, HHH, warm, uniform soils
Average yield: 4 – 5 T/A
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioned 2 fixed wires and 4 moveable wires
Spacing: 8’x6’

Soil series: Warden Silt Loam is very deep, well drained and formed in lacustrine sediments with a mantle of loess. Lacustrine deposits are very well sorted, devoid of coarse particles such as coarse sand or gravels, and are characterized by thin layers that reflect annual deposition of sediments. Still water in lakes permits very fine particles (fine sand, silt, and clay) to settle out and to form lacustrine deposits. These deposits get exposed by elevation of old lake beds. The Cavalie Warden Silt Loam has 0-4 inches brown silt loam, 4 to 21 inches pale brown silt loam, 21-60 inches a pale brown silt loam and very fine sandy loam. Loess in the Horse Heaven Hills is an aeolian (process of the wind’s ability to shape the surface of the earth) sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust.


Mercer Estates Culloden Vineyard

Culloden Vineyard

Size: 74 acres with 7 blocks
Aspect: Predominately South West and Southern row orientation
Location: Alderdale Region (35 miles SW of Prosser, WA)
Elevation: 680-800 feet
Soil: Deep silt loams across site
Varieties planted: 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6% Viognier
Year planted: 2009
Microclimate: Warm – Long Term Average GDD 3054
Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills (HHH)
Unique aspects of vineyard: Planted along canyon edges and fingers for good drainage, HHH, uniform soils
Average yield: 4 – 5 T/A
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioned modified sprawl with 3 fixed wires
Spacing: 9’x7’

Soil series: Silt loams dominate in Culloden with soils being very deep and well drained with all series being formed in lacustrine sediments with a mantle of loess. Warden Silt Loam and Kennewick Silt Loam make up the two different soils with all soil series exhibiting three different layers of loams and sands combined. Lacustrine deposits are very well sorted, devoid of coarse particles such as coarse sand or gravels, and are characterized by thin layers that reflect annual deposition of sediments. Still water in lakes permits very fine particles (fine sand, silt, and clay) to settle out and to form lacustrine deposits. These deposits get exposed by elevation of old lakebeds. Loess in the Horse Heaven Hills is an aeolian (process of the wind’s ability to shape the surface of the earth) sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust.