' Desert Wind - Our Story

Our Story

Desert Wind is a luxury destination and wine resort in the heart of Washington Wine Country, dedicated to producing world-class wines that celebrate estate grown vineyards in the Wahluke Slope AVA. Our Southwest-inspired facility is perched on a bluff in Prosser, Washington, overlooking the Yakima River. Currently producing approximately 12,000 cases a year for our wine club, tasting room and select distribution in the northwest and across the country.


Desert Wind Winery is proud to announce our transition to a new family of owners in 2021! In partnership, two well-established Washington vineyard and winery families, Josh & Lisa Lawrence and Tom & Tami Merkle are pleased to continue the tradition of great wines and warm hospitality long-established at Desert Wind by the Fries family for over 20 years.


The Lawrence Family

Josh and Lisa Lawrence come from a family farming legacy of over a half century, and began planting vineyard on the Royal Slope of Washington’s Columbia Valley in 2003. The family has expanded its holdings in partnership with the Merkle family, to now include Desert Wind Winery & Vineyard, as well as Conner Lee Vineyard. The Lawrences also launched an estate winery, Gård Vintners, in 2006 which has locations across Washington in Walla Walla, Woodinville, Ellensburg and Royal City. Josh oversees operations at their estate Lawrence Vineyards and other farm operations, including apple orchards, cherry orchards, and a variety of other crops, such as wheat, hay and dried beans, and various other ventures. Lisa oversees sales and marketing operations. Together they raise three children in their home in Royal City, Washington.


The Merkle Family

Tom Merkle is a second-generation grape grower, and began planting his first wine grapes at his own Wautoma Springs vineyard in 1999. That has since developed into a 50 acre vineyard with exclusively Cabernet Sauvignon, and supplies fruit to some of the best-known, most-respected wineries in Washington. In 2008, Tom partnered with a winemaker, Jessica Munnell, to create a boutique winery, Wautoma Springs. Tom also manages several other top-rank vineyards on the Wahluke Slope. Together with his wife Tami, the couple raise their family in Moses Lake, Washington.



In 1992, the Fries family began planting Desert Wind Vineyard on a 540-acre parcel of land on eastern Washington’s Wahluke Slope, an area particularly suited to growing hot-climate varietals. Home to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and a handful of other varieties.

In 2001, the Fries family built Desert Wind Winery and production facility in Prosser, Washington, which is a destination unto itself. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Yakima River, its Southwest-inspired exterior houses a tasting room, restaurant, event space, offering overnight accommodations and spa.