Spring Barrel wineries stepping up to improve local economy

PROSSER, Wash. -- Springtime in our area means sunshine, flowers...and of course wine. It's just one more weekend until the Spring Barrel kick off in Prosser. But this year comes with some added pressure. Rising gas prices means wineries are having to do more.Spring Barrel is prosser's biggest tourism weekend.
Thousands travel through the small town to taste wine from the valleys best wineries.

Gamache Tasting Room Asst. Manager tells KEPR, "It takes a lot of prepping. We start months in advance."

And as the time dwindles down to the big weekend, gas prices continue to go up. Wineries are confident that this won't stop them from the best spring barrel yet.

She continues, "One thing that people don't give up is good Washington wine."

But others aren't so certain. Taster, Stephen Fender explains, "I think you won't see as much revenue being generated from it. People are going to buy less because they have to spend more on gas."

The only way Stephen and his wife made it down to Prosser for some wine tasting is because of their surprisingly generous tax refund. He says, "We don't have the disposable income these days to be able to plan ahead of time where we're gonna be going this summer, next winter.. usually is just a fly by night thing."

Businesses say they are feeling the pressure to bring in the green this weekend, not just for their business, but for the community. Wine tourism has been keeping the local economy afloat. Port of Benton has been trying for years to expand the wine village with "Phase 2."

"I think Prosser would shine with phase 2," says Denise Ramos.

As of now, there are zero bids on this land. but the Port says that need a successful spring barrel to use as leverage to convince more wineries to make the investment. Adding more pressure to turn the wine flow into cash flow. The Spring barrel kick off is Friday April 27th and continues through the weekend.