Wine Tours in Walla Walla
My boyfriend and I are visiting Seattle and Portland from New York City in a few weeks. We were planning to drive from Seattle to Portland but take a 2 day detour to check out some vineyards. I understand that this will take us off track from our journey, but it's part of our Northwest adventure.
My research has led me to believe that Walla Walla would be a good place to visit because of all the vineyards.
My question is: Can anyone suggest some great vineyards to visit in Walla Walla? Or if this location is not the best place to visit for our purposes, is there another suggestion of location/winery in Oregon or Washington? We are open to anything as this is our first wine trip and know little beyond the fact that we enjoy wines from this region. Thanks in advance for the help!
Do you really mean vineyards, or wineries, or tasting rooms? Walla2 has a lot of wineries/tasting rooms, but their grapes come primarily from further west.
A simple detour on the route from SEA to PDX would take you from I-5 along 14 east to Biggs, and then west on 84. Not far, but some decent wineries along the way.
Or, starting just east of Yakima to Tri-Cities will take you by numerous fine wiineries/vineyards. No need to go to Walla2 if time is limited.
Chowhound will likely move this to the Wine board. In the meantime, refine your question and we can point you to AVA websites with data, including maps they will mail you, that will make the detour worthwhile.
You probably know this already, but Walla Walla is in the (broadly) southeast corner of the state, while Seattle is in the northwest corner . . . so you take Interstate 82 (and then other roads) to Walla Wala, taking you right through the heart of the Washington wine country, and then Intersate 84 along the Columbia River to Portland. This increases your drive from Seattle to Portland from (approx.) 175 miles direct, to (approx.) 525 miles.
This is NOT meant to discourage you. I love WA wines, and have done the drive from Seattle to Walla Walla several times. I just want you to know what you're getting into.
Check out the Washington Wine Commission ( http://www.washingtonwine.org/ ) and follow the links to their trip planner -- you'll be going through the Takima and Tri-Cities wine regions before you get to Walla Walla, and there is plenty of good wine throughout! Also, don't forget the wineries in and around Seattle -- Washington State is somewhat unique, in that nearly all the vineyards in Washington are EAST of the Cascades, but many of the wineries are WEST of them. Look in and around Woodinville, for example.
OK, specifics. All wineries are listed alphabetically.
Check out The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance ( http://www.wallawallawine.com/ ). In and around Walla Walla: Canoe Ridge, Dunham, Glen Fiona, Isenhower, L'Ecole No. 41, Reininger, Waterbrook, Woodward Canyon. There are many others, of course, but these are all well worth seeing, and are open without appointments (usually).
Before you get to Walla Walla, you may want to visit Hedges Cellars or Kinoa -- in Benton City.
While in Seattle, check out Woodinville ( http://www.woodinvillewinecountry.com/ ). There is Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Winery, DiStefano, Facelli, Matthews, and others, but make sure they are open before you go. Many have limited visiting hours.
You might be better off just going to the wine area outside Portland in the Willamette Valley, it's only a 45 minute drive as opposed to the 4-5 hour drive out of your way to Washington wine country. You could also include the Oregon coast in the same day trip which is something you shouldn't miss any way. I hate driving so that's just how I would do it since you have alot to see already in Portland and Seattle.
I wanted to report back to tell everyone that we ended up going to Woodinville, Wa. We visited Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery and spend 2 nights at the beautiful Willows Inn. All in all, it was the most perfect weather and the estates were beautiful. We had a blast and considering all the driving from Portland, Or and then to Seattle, Woodinville was the perfect stop over. Thanks again for all your recommendations!