What to do (and where to go wine tasting) in Walla Walla, Washington
Wwhat’s this ? Haven’t reached Washington’s wine epicenter yet? If this is your first time in the valley, try spending a minimum of three days and crafting an itinerary that gives you an overview of the region, while tasting good wine.
Any inaugural visit should include a stop at School n ° 41 and Canyon Woodward on the way to town. These two founding cellars of the Walla Walla Valley also produce some of the best wines in the region. The School occupies a historic school and Woodward Canyon pours its cabernet amidst vast gardens. Sip while enjoying the fact that these two helped define Walla Walla as a wine destination.
Plan a casual dinner on the first night at Brasserie Quatre. The downtown restaurant offers French cuisine, from snails to steak and fries. If bouillabaisse is on the menu, don’t hesitate. Before dinner, if you have time, have a drink in one of the many tasting rooms along these blocks.
Start your next day with a fortifying breakfast burrito at Bacon and eggs, then head to Walla Walla Winegrowers in the Upper Mill Creek area. The tasting room has evolved significantly from its two-barrel-top board days, but it’s still pretty modest, until you factor in the view. A lawn next to the vineyard, dotted with Adirondack tables and chairs, allows you to admire the wide panorama of the sky and the hills. The next step is Cellars Trenches, which sits next to its own Blue Mountain Vineyard. As its name suggests, the Blues serve as a backdrop. The tasting setup is sober; you are here for the perpetual events on the lawn outside and for the wines.
Keep hydrated and head to another of the valley’s founding wineries. Seven Hills Vineyard operates out of a converted brick planing plant. Before retiring earlier this year, founder Casey McClellan spent decades crafting wines in a reserved style worthy of aging. Its products are as durable today as they were when McClellan started in the 1980s, but there’s no shortage of fun if you open a bottle now.
If you can, make a reservation for dinner at Mediterranean cuisine with saffronthe new location of. The restaurant has been an institution since 2007, with its grilled octopus, country flat bread and homemade pasta.
It’s time to head south of the city, to one of the most scenic areas of the (already incredibly scenic) Walla Walla Valley. Before doing so, grab some croissants, seasonal danishes and an espresso at Pastry shop on rue Colville.
Newcomer Estates Valdemar was founded by a family of fifth generation Spanish winemakers who took an interest in Washington. A striking modern building embraces wide balconies, all perfectly located for visitors to view the Blue Mountains, drink in hand. Valdemar offers its Spanish wines in addition to their Washington counterparts and some classic tapas.
You have admired the rolling mountains of Valdemar. Get ready now for some rock (musical variety) at sleight of hand. Pearl Jam superfan and co-owner Trey Busch recently renovated the winery’s tasting room, but his commitment to vinyl records remains the same. The same goes for the consistently excellent psychedelic Syrah.
Some of Washington’s most distinctive wines await you just across Stateline Road, technically in Oregon. Here in the Rocks District, vines grow on the fist-sized cobblestones of an ancestral riverbed. Roast cellars has long produced some of Washington’s most impressive Rhone-style wines. Its Rôtie Rocks Estate tasting room, completed in 2020, rises from these stony vineyards and allows you to sample the distinct flavors of the region (the term ‘funk’ is often used, although others object) while looking at the ground that animates them.
As lunchtime approached, the thoughts of AK Market. For years, Chef Andrae Bopp’s restaurant at a nearby gas station was the makings of a culinary legend. Bopp recently moved into top-notch downtown real estate, a two-level space with outdoor seating that offers a range of tacos, salads and pastries. Even homemade cookies for your dog.
More Walla Walla Insider Choices
Grosgrain vineyards the champion varieties of the outsiders (sparkling lemberger, do you like it?) made in a reserved style. The tasting room has outdoor seating near one of the winery’s vineyards.
Prospice wines winemakers Matt Reilly and Jay Krutulis both left successful careers to attend the Wine and Viticulture program at Walla Walla Community College. There they not only learned how to make wine, but they found a partnership. Don’t miss the Viognier.