Walla Walla Valley is home to 120+ wineries and tasting rooms all distributed across five main districts: Westside, Eastside, Southside, Downtown and Airport. If you’re planning to make a visit to the region, I’d recommend getting a private driver vs Uber/Lyft since it’ll streamline your tasting schedule with less wait time. Alex, from @imbibe_wine_tours took us to four districts including one behind me @reiningerwinery located on the Westside along Highway 12. Here’s a snapshot of each district:
Imagine tasting wines crafted by some of the most acclaimed winemakers in the world. I had the opportunity to taste six wines during a visit to Long Shadows. Founded by Allen Shoup, the former CEO of Chateau St. Michelle, Long Shadows brings together the best winemakers from around the world to Walla Walla. Shoup’s vision was to have each wine label headed by a world-famous winemaker to reflect the style of the partners native wine-region. Each individual wine is a like a separate company under the Long Shadow umbrella. Production for each wine label is relatively small with no more 2,500 cases a year. Now let’s talking about the wines! My two favorites were Saggi and Poet’s Leap. Let’s go through each:
With only a 20-minute drive from Walla Walla, and we’re in Oregon! Actually, Rotie Cellars belongs to the Washington AVA and has a tasting room in Seattle so you can enjoy their wines at the vineyard or city. Named after a prestigious red-wine appellation of France's Rhône Valley, Rotie Cellars produces only Rhône blends. Since starting his winery in 2007, winemaker and owner Sean Boyd’s goal is to combine old world winemaking techniques using new world vines. The tasting included three whites and three reds, but here are my top three:
Peppery on the nose with red cherry and cranberry on the palate followed by a smooth finish. So if you want Old World blends with a New World twist, Rotie will certainly satisfy that palate.
A picture perfect view Amavi Cellars with the tasting room overlooking the fields and blue mountains in the distance. The name of the winery really captures the love (amor) and life (vita) Amavi has for their wines. Grapes are 100% certified sustainable and grown in Walla Walla Valley only. Good news, the wines are simply delicious. Unfortunately, production is small so you’ll rarely find these wines offered beyond the winery and tasting room. Let’s go through my top picks:
It’s that time of year again... ‘tis the season of grapes and booze. Harvest is underway in Walla Walla. After spending the day visiting four wineries, this one is my favorite Alton Wines. The venue, the wine, the view and above all, the people! Husband and wife team, Joe and Ashley, turned their vision of a modern chic tasting room into reality just a month ago! Alton Wines is located in the heart of the Southside district secluded among the Merlot vines of Pepper Bridge vineyard with spectacular views overlooking rolling hills.
I’m standing in front of the most exclusive wine brand in Walla Walla and arguably the entire state of Washington. Unlike many vineyards in the state, Cayuse sell their wines through their mailing list. Portions of their wines are reserved only for high-end restaurants and wine shops. It’s so exclusive that there’s an eight-year waiting list to be on their mailing list! Limited allocation for the Cayuse wine start at $200 a bottle. Good news, there are 120+ wineries in the Walla Walla region with awesome affordable wines you can enjoy. Unlike other famous wine regions, Walla Walla doesn’t specialize in one varietal or style. You’ll find everything from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, Tempranillo to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.