Birthplace of Washington Wine
Prosser has been the location of the Washington State University Irrigated Agricultural Research Extension Center (WSU-IAREC) since 1919, shortly after the development of the irrigation systems so vital to our valley. The variety of agricultural research done at this center is vast, but took a serendipitous bent when Dr. Walter Clore was hired to work there in 1937 and researched small fruits and vegetables, including grapes. Wine grapes became his personal passion and he tested more than 250 American, European and hybrid varietals. In 1960 he partnered with WSU microbiologist and former Napa Valley resident Charles Nagel to test, to determine what vines would grow where and under what conditions.
Dr. Clore’s meticulous research was instrumental in assuring Washington farmers that they could grow vinifera grapes and produce fine wine, resulting in the birth of the Washington wine industry. Today, Washington state is the second largest premium wine producer in the country and it’s wine industry contributes in excess of $14.9 billion to the national economy and supports more than 27,000 jobs.
Dr. Clore passed on February 3, 2003 at the age of 91 and will forever be remembered as “The Father of Washington Wine”. Today The Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center is dedicated in his honor to showcase the quality of Washington’s modern day viticulture, enology and culinary practices through education, experience and entertainment.