Tours & TastingsItineraries

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Walla Walla Wine Country

  • Oct 15, 2019
  • By Rebekah Stoltz Weeman

For years, I’ve had a huge crush on the Walla Walla area. Sometimes I just fall in love with a place and instantly, its game over. Walla Walla, Washington definitely has my heart and after my recent visit, I know why!

For years, I’ve had a huge crush on the Walla Walla area.  Has that ever happened to you?    Sometimes I just fall in love with a place and instantly, its game over.  Walla Walla, Washington definitely has my heart and after my recent visit, I know why! Here are my Top 5 reasons why you should visit Walla Walla and be part of the incredible things going on there.

#1 - The Food. O-M-G.  I have enjoyed 12 years in the Napa Valley and thought I knew all about Farm to Table.  Guess what?  No one knows how to create a feast for the senses like the chefs in WW.  This foodie has at last found her true love.  You MUST eat at (and there are more places than this of course) the following places. 

When you arrive to town go directly to Brassiere Four.  You can revive from your travels and enjoy a most excellent local vibe. Chef Jamie Guerin always puts out a great plate.  Brassiere Four is known as the French Bistro of Walla Walla and is a locals choice for consistently great food and service. 

I also really liked Passatempo Taverna for their amazing drinks and happy hour. The beautiful bar is built to put out perfect and creative libations.  The place carries a lot of Walla Walla history and you can feel it when you are in the room. I had a great time ordering fun drinks to go with my beet salad, grilled halibut and a hot kale dish. I am still thinking about the subtle earthy flavors I enjoyed…and that cute bartender!  I was so impressed that I went back the next day and had the Papperdelle Bolognese. Aside from the time I spent in Italy, I have never had a better pasta dish.  Forget about the guilt because everyone knows that handmade pasta has zero calories.  No matter the season, the menu is made from fresh, local and seasonal ingredients with a ton of Walla Walla soul. 

I like to save the best for last and my greatest find of all is Hattaway’s on Alder.  Go there. Go again and again.  This husband and wife team from Georgia are living the dream and giving the rest of us a taste of their heaven. Nothing but the best local ingredients brought together in Southeast & Rural American traditions, straight to your hungry heart. Check out the menu and I guarantee that you will be on the first flight to Walla Walla. Everything is brought together in an honest way with lots of Southern hospitality. 

#2 - The Wine. Beyond incredible.  Walla Walla really knows how to make great wines.  The wineries in Walla Walla are approachable, mostly affordable and generally excellent.  Here are my top picks.   

My first and most anticipated stop was L’Ecole No. 41.  This third generation family owned, artisan Walla Walla winery is located in a restored Frenchtown School.  WOW!  I was fascinated by the Walla Walla history and world renowned, refined wines. I am working on a way to join Marty and Megan Clubb on the Rhone River cruise in April 2020. L’Ecole No. 41 you have not seen the last of me! 

As I was getting ready to wrap it up, my wine educator, Norman, recommended that I do not miss Pepper Bridge Winery.  Having some time on my hands before lunch, I decided to take his sage advice.  What a find!   Since I was meeting  a friend for lunch soon, I skipped the Food & Wine pairing and went for the Tour & Tasting.  We enjoyed an exclusive tour of the unique gravity-flow facility and learned all about the wine making process.  Such a great value at $20 per person.  I ended up joining the wine club and buying some of the coveted Trine and Merlot. Delish!!! 

The word on the local beat is that Lagana Cellars produces the best Pinot Noir out of Walla Walla.  The Todd Bernave and Jason Fox duo are on to something very special. Called the “Breezy Slope” vineyard, Jason is one of the favorite one-man shows of Walla Walla. Lagana Cellars proved to me that epic wines are being made in Walla Walla AVA.  

Two mathematician brothers have garnered much attention with their Rocks District Syrah.  Valdemar Estates has all the locals and visitors smiling big.  Boasting a recent grand opening on April 27, 2019 this winery has reinvented the winery experience with Spanish inspired varietals, paired with authentic tapas from the north in Rioja to pair perfectly with their wines. This fifth generation winemaking family defiantly knows what they are doing. Celebrated female Winemaker, Marie-Eve Gilla, has joined the Valdemar team. With her French pedigree, Gilla offers a sophisticated European influence to the wines.  Don’t tell anyone but they also have an exclusive inaugural Syrah offering from Blue Mountain and Klipsum Vineyard in Red Mountain. Don’t miss Valdemar Estates. 

#3 - The People. Oh the People.  The folks in Walla Walla know how to welcome us all and do so with old world warmth and charm.  I felt as though I had been part of Walla Walla for years and I am sure that I have a whole new branch of my family existing there.  The locals and visitors just get it and make you feel right at home.  I seriously think that I could move to Walla Walla one day and never look back. Doesn’t everyone want to live where there is no crime, lots of wine, and great food? The smiling, hip and intelligent locals made it really hard for me to leave. There are still good people in the world and they all live in Walla Walla, Washington.

#4 – The cool places to stay.  Where do I begin? I honestly don’t think you could stay anywhere that wasn’t RAD.  Having said that, if you want a couple of recommendations, I’ve got them.

The Inn at Abeja is one of the places that single handily helped to put Walla Walla on the wine map.  Lots of history here. Trust me when I say that this stellar location is not to be missed. The hayloft is the suite with life rejuvenating views of the Blues (mountains). 

If you prefer to check out something new to Walla Walla then you should try Barn B & B. Here you will enjoy an all-inclusive luxurious stay.  The owners are top notch with years of experience in the hotelier biz.  Close to many wineries and they will even prepare and deliver a gourmet picnic to you at any of the Westside wineries.   

#5 - The Value.   You get it all fro a fraction of the cost that you would anywhere else.  The best part is that ALL the quality is there too.  Your hard earned dollar goes a long way in Walla Walla!  Let me know if you want me to join you when you visit and I will gladly return. Let’s Walla Walla! #letswallawalla

 

Tags: Dining

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