Our Story

WELCOME TO WILLOW CREST WINERY

Willow Crest is best known for its estate-grown aromatic white wines from Washington State’s Yakima Valley. The Minick Family first planted wine grapes on their Roza farm, North of Prosser in 1982. In 1995, David J. Minick, a third generation farmer, took grape-growing to the next level by making handcrafted wine from select blocks of the family vineyard and soon after, bottled the first vintage of Willow Crest. Focusing on aromatic white wines, Willow Crest Winery uses estate grown fruit that David plants, cultivates, and harvests.

THE WINEMAKERS

DAVID JAMES MINICK, FOUNDING WINEMAKER

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After growing grapes for other winemakers in the Yakima Valley for more than a decade, third generation Washington farmer David Minick realized a long-time dream of producing his own wine with the opening of Willow Crest Winery in 1995. Minick oversees the family vineyard estate, with nearly 300 acres of grapes, and retains a small amount of his annual harvest to craft nearly 3,000 cases of premium wine. He credits Tefft Cellars founder Joel Tefft for mentoring him in quality, small-lot winemaking.

JON ZIMMERMAN, WINEMAKER

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Jon brings 30 years of experience working in Washington State’s wine industry, working in wineries with annual productions ranging from 5,000 cases to over 1 million cases. Over the past 15 years, he’s worked directly in wine making. Through his tenure, Jon has balanced the art of winemaking with technology, strategic planning and organization. Jon has been crafting wine for Willow Crest since 2014. Prior to that Jon served as assistant winemaker at Canoe Ridge Vineyard from 2012-2014, working directly with winemaker Bill Murray. Jon previously served as the winemaker for Tefft Cellars in Outlook, Wash. (whose founder was also Willow Crest founding winemaker David Minick’s mentor), and later as winemaker at Wahluke Wine Company from 2008-2012. Other professional credits include wine making at Silver Lake Winery, Hedges Cellars and serving as enologist Hogue Cellars. Jon strives to produce high quality wines and over-deliver to the customer. When he’s not making wine you’ll find him fishing, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with family. Jon resides in the heart of Washington wine country in Prosser.

JULIE BROWN, ASSISTANT WINEMAKER

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Los Angeles-born Julie Brown has worked in several facets of the wine industry. Between 2010-2012 she worked for The Bunnell Family Cellar in Prosser as its wine club manager, assistant winemaker, marketing rep, events person, and Woodinville tasting room manager, as well as a server at the Prosser restaurant Wine O’Clock. While concurrently studying at Yakima Valley Community College for Enology, she worked at Columbia Crest for the 2012 harvest, later joining Willow Crest in January 2013 at its enologist. She was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in Dec. 2013. When she’s not making wine, she enjoys painting, drawing and cooking.

MINICK FAMILY ESTATE VINEYARD

The Minick family has been growing vinifera grapes since 1982. Their vineyard boasts older and newer phases of planting for continued, vigorous production. The Willow Crest estate vineyard is at a 1,300-feet elevation, sloped at an advantage when cold winter days hit (warmer temperature difference of up to 15 degrees from its other AVA neighbors is not uncommon). Silt loam and fractured basalt rock soil give the aromatic white wines a beautiful mineral base and undeniable distinction. Warm days, cool nights contribute to great acidity in the wine. The high desert climate, with hillside and valley floor vineyards, lend to longer ripening periods. As a result, deeper flavor characteristics and aromatics are created.

YAKIMA VALLEY AVA

• Washington State’s first federally-recognized appellation; includes more than 60 wineries.
• Contains 16,042 vineyard acres (6,492 hectares), over one third of Washington’s vineyards.
• Silt-loam soils predominate, allowing proper drainage necessary to keep vine’s vigor under control.
• 190-day growing season with annual precipitation of approximately 8 inches (20 cm).

WILLOW CREST WINERY

The winery is one of the few ‘no barrel’ wineries in the country, dedicated largely to the production of aromatic white wines. We bring fruit in early in the mornings to capture the full aroma for the end product. Fruit is pressed, fined and cold-settled for 48 hours before fermentation. Never rushing for the sake of production, these are true, artisan wines, fermented to suit that year’s particular conditions until flavor perfection and balanced acidity is achieved for bottling. With every step of the grape growing and winemaking process monitored by the same team, this attention and care is expressed in every bottle of Willow Crest wine.