MikeL's Guide to WA Wineries
Walla Walla - day 4

[This was written as email to an out-of-towner who was going to be in Seattle for a few days in June 1997, and wanted to do some serious winetasting. I listed a several day schedule, it's broken up into 4 parts here.]

Day 4

Yesterday left off at the eastern end of the Yakima Valley. Today we go on out to Walla Walla. As with yesterday, this way you're doing your driving during the time that no wineries are open anyways, thus maximizing your tasting time.

Tri-Cities:

Head east on I-82, and take the I-182 exit northbound (about 30 minutes frm Prosser). 6 minutes further takes us by the fairly new Bookwalter Winery facility, right off the freeway. Their brand new next-door-neighbors are Barnard Griffin. 10 minutes up the hill is Badger Mt./Powers winery.

Continuing ever eastward, Gordon Brothers is just off the highway. Claar Cellars is a brand new large production facility, unfortunately, it's a bit off the beaten path. Balcom & Moe is an appt. only winery, well worth the visit.

Tagaris Winery has no public facilities, and Chateau Gallant seems to be closed. Preston makes a great deal of an unbelievable variety of wines -- another good value winery.

Walla Walla

The first winery you encounter in Walla Walla (about 50 minutes past the Tri-Cities) is Woodward Canyon. They seem to always win the gold or silver medals at the most prestigous tastings.

Another 1/10 mile and we're at L'Ecole #41. They're in a fabulous old schoolhouse building (worth a visit all by itself!) with enjoyable wines.

Canoe Ridge is a fine winery, housed in a wonderful old train repair building. They also have very good national distribution.

The rest of the wineries in Walla Walla are only open twice a year, once in Spring, and again in Fall. You may be able to visit them by appt.

Seven Hills is an small winery, about 25 minutes drive out of the way in Oregon. If you've already come all the way out to Wa3, do take the trouble to call Casey for an appt. A short distance from downtown is Leonetti Cellar. Rick is pretty universally considered to be the best winemaker in WA, with a limited supply of wine each year. Put simply, there is a waiting list to get onto the waiting list to buy his wines, and there's no way you'll get an appt.

A few blocks from Leonetti is Patrick M. Paul. A very small Mom&Pop winery that produces small quantities of lovely wines, do make time to stop here.

Back to the highway, another 15 minutes takes us to Glen Fiona. A small winery with only few varietals at this time, all of which are exceptional. Don't miss.

Lastly, 2 minutes drive past Glen Fiona is Walla Walla Vinters. A small producer, with very nice wines, another not to be missed.

After all this tasting and driving, the unfortunate news is that you now have about a 5 hour drive back to Seattle. The wines of the Walla Walla appellation are excellent, it is entirely worthwhile for you to make this trip -- don't let the drive time talk you out of it. Just be sure to plan ahead to go one of the open weekends, or to make some phone calls first.


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