Walla Walla Valley is one of Washington state’s eight official viticultural appellations and is best known for cabernet sauvignon, merlot, riesling, and chardonnay grapes. There are dozens of wineries in and around town.
As you head close to Walla Walla from the west, you’ll encounter the very attractive Three Rivers Winery (5641 West Highway 12, 509/526-9463, www.threeriverswinery.com). The tasting room and winery building sit on a bank overlooking the vineyard and a large grassy area with a small three-hole pitch-and-putt course. The building itself is an impressive combination of river rock, pitched roofs, and warm-red exposed wooden beams. Inside there’s a river rock bar and fireplace to keep you cozy while tasting. Try the estate-grown gewürtztraminer; it is superb.
Visit Woodward Canyon Winery (11920 W. Hwy. 12, 509/525-4129, www.woodwardcanyon.com, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.), about 10 miles west of town in Lowden, for a taste of top-quality chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. The $5 tasting fee is refundable with any purchase. L’Ecole No. 41 Winery (509/525-0940,www.lecole.com, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. daily), also in Lowden, specializes in semillon and merlot wines. The tasting room is an old schoolhouse—relax by doodling on the chalkboard as you sip. Tasting fees are a refundable $5.
Other notable Walla Walla wineries include the largest local winery, Waterbrook Winery (31 E. Main St., 509/522-1262, www.waterbrook.com, 10:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. daily), as well as Canoe Ridge Vineyard (1102 West Cherry St., 509/527-0885, www.canoeridgevineyard.com, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. daily Oct.–Apr., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. daily May–Sept., closed major holidays and Dec. 24–Jan. 1) and Patrick M. Paul Vineyards (1554 School Ave., 509/526-0676, www.pmpvineyards.com, 1–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun.).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition