Truly a postcard of American beauty, Walla Walla vistas present rolling wheat fields and vineyards backed by the majestic Blue Mountains. There’s a tangible thrum to the area, which has grown from fewer than 20 wineries in the late ’90s to more than 100 today.
Where to Dine in Walla Walla
Located in an old lumber-planing mill, Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a white-tablecloth experience that features exquisitely presented American fare alongside an extensive wine list of local offerings and labels from around the world.
Where to Stay
A century-old farm has been restored and transformed into the Inn at Abeja. The 38-acre property, which has extensive gardens, is also home to Abeja Winery (visits are upon request only), surrounded by one of its estate vineyards. For a little extra pampering, the inn features in-room spa services.
Walla Walla is firmly red-wine country, producing some of the world’s finest Syrahs, which display an earthy, savory style that’s reflective of the region’s terroir. It’s also known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, full of energy, vitality and purity of fruit.
Where to Taste
Downtown Walla Walla has walkable tasting rooms. Don’t miss Seven Hills Winery, in a 1904 woodworking mill. Some airport region wineries are in converted military buildings (Tamarack Cellars occupies a renovated firehouse on a World War II army base). The west side features two of the valley’s founding wineries, L’Ecole No. 41 and Woodward Canyon Winery, while the east side houses the scenic Mill Creek area (taste the Grenache at àMaurice Cellars). Many south-side wineries, such as Amavi Cellars, offer sweeping views of the Blue Mountains. Sleight of Hand Cellars plays music from their eclectic collection of vinyl records.
Where to go in Woodinville
Just 30 minutes from Seattle, Woodinville is one of Washington’s wine epicenters, despite having only two-and-a-half acres of wine grapes planted. Most of the state’s vineyards are located two or more hours east. The city has nearly 120 wineries and tasting rooms, ranging from the palatial Chateau Ste. Michelle to hidden gems in industrial parks.
Where to Dine
Start with breakfast at The Commons, where you’ll be in prime position to explore dozens of nearby tasting rooms. For lunch or dinner, Purple Café and Wine Bar and Barking Frog both offer exquisite Pacific Northwest cuisine and extensive local wine lists. The nine-course locavore meal at The Herbfarm, where menus change weekly, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Where to Stay
Willows Lodge, on the Sammamish River, delivers a classic Northwest experience. The rooms are rustic but upscale, and you can roam the gardens, sip a glass of wine by the fire or enjoy the outdoor patios. After a hard day of wine tasting, unwind at the full-service spa.
Where to Taste
Woodinville wine country is divided into four neighborhoods. The Warehouse District and Hollywood District offer the most diversity, as well as some of the area’s more renowned options. In the former, wineries take advantage of industrial park amenities: lower rents and roll-top doors that facilitate forklifting grape bins. Don’t let the modest exteriors fool you. Some of the state’s best wines are made here; try Kevin White Winery and W.T. Vintners.
The Hollywood District, named after the Hollywood Schoolhouse at its center, holds tasting rooms for Long Shadows Vintners, while also serving as home for some of the state’s oldest producers, including Chateau Ste. Michelle. Adams Bench Winery, JM Cellars and Gorman Winery (where you can admire the guitar collection) are also here.