Editor’s note: This is the 12th in an occasional series on destination wineries of the Pacific Northwest.
PROSSER, Wash. – In mid-1990s, Jarrod Boyle wasn’t exactly sure what direction his life and career would take.
He grew up here in the Yakima Valley and had recently been hired as a viticulturist by Wade Wolfe, then general manager of Hogue Cellars. One day, he was driving through the Horse Heaven Hills to check some grapes when destiny stepped into his heart and soul.
Boyle drove down a dusty road into a field that was mostly sagebrush and rocks. It wasn’t far from the Columbia River. He envisioned what this could become: a great vineyard. But with no money and no means to buy the land, he put the dream aside.
In 1998, he partnered with the Mercer family – longtime friends and one of Eastern Washington’s great farming families – to purchase the land and plant a 264-acre vineyard. He called it Destiny Ridge.
By 2001, Boyle and his wife, Ali, opened Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser – he figured that naming the operation after Ali could only help him.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars winemaking
Boyle had lots of farming experience and had entered the grape-growing scene in the Horse Heaven Hills just as it was heading to a new plateau of quality and interest. But he had no winemaking experience and ultimately leaned heavily on others for help, including Wolfe (who owns Thurston Wolfe Winery), David Minick of Willow Crest Winery and Ray McKee, now red winemaker for Chateau Ste. Michelle.
“It was baptism by fire,” Boyle said.
Now the winemaking comes easier, and Boyle’s wines earn rave reviews.
“Winemaking,” he said. “A lifelong story that starts with dirt and ends with a bottle of wine.”
Boyle grows 23 varieties of wine grapes at Destiny Ridge, and while much of his fruit is sold to other winemakers, he also crafts a wide range of wines. Most of his 10,000-case production is sold directly to his wine club members, who enjoy an unprecedented level of exclusivity.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars’ 3 locations
Today, ANC – as the cool kids refer to Alexandria Nicole Cellars – has three locations.
Its original tasting room is in Prosser, not far from Hogue Cellars. Here is the original “Hidden Door” wine club room. Boyle has a thing for hidden rooms, so he built one in Prosser that appears to be nothing more than a bookshelf. Only wine club members and other special guests are allowed in.
“I wanted to provide something extra for (wine club members),” Boyle said. “Something exclusive. The hidden door is kind of fun, and people really like it.”
Nearly a decade ago, Boyle was one of the first Columbia Valley wineries to open a second tasting room in Woodinville. He started in the Warehouse District but moved across town to the historic Hollywood Schoolhouse within a couple of years. Here he shares a parking lot with a half-dozen other wineries and is just a two-minute drive from Chateau Ste. Michelle and within walking distance of no fewer than 30 tasting rooms and restaurants. This location, too, has a hidden door where wine club members and other special guests may lounge and enjoy food and other amenities.
And his third location is at the vineyard in the remote Horse Heaven Hills. The newly opened ANC Guest Services Center offers “vine country” experiences for visits. It is open by appointment but likely will have regular seasonal hours starting in spring 2015.
Amenities at Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Here are a few of the amenities between ANC’s three locations:
- Gift shop
- Picnic area
- Special area for wine club members
- Live music
- Food for sale, such as cheeses
- RV parking/camping
Nearby restaurants recommended by Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Nearby accommodations recommended by Alexandria Nicole Cellars
- The Willows Lodge
- Comfort Inn & Suites in Bothell
- Marriott Residence Inn
Nearby coffee places recommended by Alexandria Nicole Cellars
- 6th Street Coffee
- The Commons
- Java Hut
Non-wine activities recommended by Alexandria Nicole Cellars
- Art galleries
- Antique shops
- Horseback riding
- Outdoor concerts
- Hot air balloon rides
Alexandria Nicole Cellars locations, contact info and hours
2880 Lee Road, Suite C
Prosser, WA 99350
Directions: Take Exit 82 off Interstate 82, head east and follow the signs to such wineries as Hogue Cellars, Kestrel Vintners and Mercer Estates.
Hours: Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
14810 N.E. 145th St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
Directions: From Chateau Ste. Michelle, turn right on 145th St. NE and head east. Cross the Sammamish River and at the second roundabout, take the third exit — heading north on 148th Ave. NE — then turn right after a half block into the Hollywood Schoolhouse parking lot.
Hours: Open noon to 5 p.m. daily. Open until 8 p.m. Fridays.
Destiny Ridge Vineyard
158422 W. Sonova Road
Prosser, WA 99350
Hours: Open by appointment.
All tasting rooms are closed Easter, Mothers Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.