Hogue Cellars, Prosser Washington

The Hogue Cellars winery was founded in 1982 by two brothers, Mike and Gary Hogue. Hogue Cellars is run from Prosser, Washington, in the heart of Eastern Washington's wine country, and is the third largest winery in the state. Today, Hogue Cellars is owner by Canadian conglomerate Vincor International. Vincor is a division of the world's largest wine company, Constellation Brands, who also owns Inniskillin, Robert Mondavi, Hardys, Clos du Bois, Blackstone, Estancia, Ravenswood, Jackson-Triggs, Kim Crawford, and Nobilo wineries. Hogue's winemaker is Jordan Ferrier, who has held the position for several years. Hogue is one of the largest wineries in the state producing over 450,000 cases annually. They have good distribution, both within and without the state; Hogue Cellars is one of the few Washington wineries whose entire range of wines is fairly easy to find even in New England.

Hogue Cellars have three ranges of wines, all of which are produced from Washington grapes. The lowest tier is eponymous Hogue, followed by Hogue Genesis, and, at the top, Hogue Reserve. Their wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Gewürtztraminer, Riesling, Late Harvest Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Fume Blanc. The Genesis range uses selected vineyards, and includes Genesis Riesling, Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon, and Genesis Merlot. Their Reserve range includes Reserve Chardonnay, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and Reserve Merlot.

When I first moved to Washington, the wine buyer at my old Trader Joe's told me to look out for Hogue wines; he said they were fruit-forward "in a good way," and that he felt Hogue Cellars managed to present the ideal Washington wine profile, even in their budget tier. It's been fun trying their wines; so far, I've been pleased. I also like the fact that Hogue uses screw-caps or Stelvin caps on all their bottles; no corks.