Beverage / Travel

Wine Weekend in Walla Walla, Washington

I am convinced that for wine lovers, Walla Walla is the perfect long weekend getaway from Seattle.  It is very removed from urban civilization, yet it is only a 4 hour drive.  The views, climate, wine, food, and the locals make this a fantastic destination.

DSC01949Walla Walla is rich in history – both Native American, and western settler.  The historic downtown is beautiful and has won awards for historic preservation.  In 2011, USA Today named Walla Walla ‘The friendliest small town in America.’ {via}

Some girlfriends and I went to Walla Walla for a bachelorette party, which happened to coincide with Spring Release.  During Spring Release, wineries highlight their new vintages, have barrel tastings, and provide guests with an opportunity to speak with the winemakers.  There’s also live music and food at many of the wineries making it even that much more fun!  10271501_10152125238690994_8157894688737885184_n {photo taken by Lisa Lancaster}


IMG_8303dusted valley

One of the girls on the trip is a wine buyer for several restaurants in Seattle.  We had VIP treatment all weekend.  We visited six wineries, many of which are small, family run establishments.  With over 100 wineries in Walla Walla, I was thrilled to have a personal tour guide who was very familiar with the valley.

IMG_8369Here’s the lineup of the wineries we visited:

  1. Charles Smith/K Vintners Downtown Tasting Room
  2. Dusted Valley Vintners
  3. Tertulia Cellars
  4. Balboa Winery
  5. Sleight of Hand Cellars
  6. Va Piano Vineyards

All of the wineries and wines were fantastic!  After talking to winemakers, sampling LOTS of wine, and soaking in the smell of fermenting grapes, I have some takeaway lessons from the trip.  First, I received a lesson in letting go of the ratings, the numbers, the awards, and the rankings.  All of the winemakers that we spoke to {even those who had several awards} said, “figure out what you like, and drink that.”  The second thing I learned is that Reislings are not all sweet.  In fact, many of them tasted light and fruity similar to my go-to white wines, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc.  And lastly, I learned that tacos taste better with wine than beer!  There’s something amazing that happens to your tastebuds when you pair red wine with a spicy beef taco!

DSC01932Since Walla Walla has become a tourist destination in recent years, there are a variety of accommodations.  With such a large group, we decided to rent a vacation rental by owner which couldn’t have been a better choice.  If you’re looking to rent a house, there are a lot of great options.

If you like the idea of staying in an independent dwelling but don’t need a full house, try Air B&B.  You could even stay in this Airstreamairstream

There’s also the beautiful and historic Marcus Whitman Hotel, which is arguably more sophisticated than most hotels in Seattle.

So, if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend trip this summer or fall, take 3 or 4 days and soak in the beautiful landscape, warm weather, and glorious wines of Walla Walla!



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