For those of us lucky to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, a weekend tasting trip to Walla Walla wineries in Washington state is the perfect escape.
A world-renowned wine destination, Walla Walla has wineries all over the valley and tasting rooms scattered around the entire downtown area. The Walla Walla region is also known for its gourmet food scene and ideal weather for year-round outdoor activities.
After living near Napa Valley and scoping out Idaho’s wine scene, I was excited about a Washington wine tasting trip and ended up falling in love with Walla Walla!
Want to go to another great Washington wine region, try Lake Chelan!
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Walla Walla Wineries: A Washington Wine Tasting Weekend
How to Get to Walla Walla, Washington
Located in the Walla Walla Valley, with the rolling Palouse hills and the Blue Mountains to the east, the town of Walla Walla is one of the northernmost locations in the US.
Walla Walla is extremely close to the Oregon border and easily accessible from Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Boise, ID, and is about a four-hour drive from each of these major cities. It’s also less than a 3-hour drive from Spokane, WA, and about a 1-hour drive from Tri-Cities Airport. Most people will either fly directly into Walla Walla’s Regional Airport or fly into one of these cities and rent a car to drive the rest of the way.
How to Get Around Walla Walla
If you’re coming to visit the wineries in Walla Walla, you’ll probably want to think about how you’ll get around. When I visit, I always have a car coming from Boise and have a sober driver drive us around. If that’s an option for you then, I recommend renting a car or taking a wine tour! More information on Walla Walla wine tours is below.
However, there are great options to hire cars to take you around to the wineries and there are also some pretty great tours in the area.
Uber has also become more popular in Walla Walla, but can still be hard to find one, so make sure to plan ahead—especially if you have a larger group.
The Best Time to Visit Walla Walla
Spring is the best time to visit for a more mild climate and fall is great if you’d rather go for harvest. We went in April and it was perfect. Summer is also a great option, but it can definitely get pretty hot! The average temperatures (high/low) in the Spring and Summer months are:
- March: 56° / 39°
- April: 63° / 42°
- May: 72° / 49°
- June: 80° / 56°
- July: 88° / 62°
- August: 87° / 61°
Where to Stay in Walla Walla
There are so many great places to stay in Walla Walla. Whether you want a cute bed and breakfast, a beautifully designed boutique hotel, or want a more popular hotel, it’s all here. If you stay downtown, you’ll be within walking distance of all of the great shops and wineries. If you end up staying a few minutes from downtown, you’ll get beautiful views of the valley.
Here are a few great options:
This new boutique hotel is located in downtown Walla Walla. It’s the perfect spot if you’re planning on spending a lot of time downtown in the evenings and want something modern and fresh. See current prices here.
If you’re looking for a great downtown spot, Marcus Whitman is a historic hotel with modern luxury. With five on-site tasting rooms and a restaurant serving innovative farm-to-table food and wine pairings, this place offers an authentic Walla Walla experience and is one of the older and more historical hotels of the area. See current prices here.
The Inn at Abeja
If you’d like to stay on property at a winery, try the Inn at Abeja. They are located on a restored farmstead about 4 miles from Walla Walla. Their lodging is rich in history and provides a wonderful way to experience the Walla Walla Valley! See current prices here.
Cameo Heights Mansion
Looking for a charming place away from the city center (30 mins)? Book your stay here! This mansion is located right in the middle of wine country and the views are unreal.
If hotels aren’t your thing, there are some great Airbnb options in town like this and this.
What to Do in Walla Walla:
Wine Taste on Your Own
The Walla Walla winery region is so vast that there are over 120 wineries! Walla Walla also has 40 tasting rooms in their historic downtown, so, if you’d rather do a day of wine tasting just downtown, you can.
If you’re more into the experience of visiting the winery, there are so many great options. Most wineries open at 10 or 11 am so you can start your day off right! Here are my recommendations for the best Walla Walla wineries:
L’Ecole N° 41
This award-winning, artisan winery was the third established in the Walla Walla Valley. They are actually inside of an old schoolhouse which I thought was so fun! Their 2011 Estate Ferguson won the International Trophy for Best Bordeaux Blend in the World!
Sleight of Hand
Love wine but not as serious as some of those winos out there? This winery says that their goal is “to make world-class wines while having the most fun that is legally possible.” Plus, their tasting rooms are super fun.
If you’re looking for tasty wine and a great atmosphere, head over to Kontos! This one stands out with its friendly staff, and a dog-friendly outdoor patio. Plus they have a great red blend!
Long Shadow Vintners
This winery is on a gorgeous property and they had a wonderful tasting for us. They also have a collection of seven ultra-premium Columbia Valley wines that have been recognized as Food & Wine magazine’s “Winery of the Year.” I loved their cabernet sauvignon and have to say this was one of my favorite wineries in Walla Walla!
I loved the overall vibe and decor of Gramercy Cellars. Using mostly organic grapes, minimalist winemaking techniques (no or little new oak, no additives), and a lot of time (extended aging), this winery makes some great wine!
Other great wineries to check out are:
Take a Wine Tour
If you’d rather take a tour or don’t have a car in Walla Walla, here are some great tour options:
- Imbibe Wine Tours – groups of 4-30 ppl and let you pick your wineries, 3-5 hour wine tours
- Four-Star Limo Service – offers 3-5 hour wine tours, up to 8-10 guests
- Your hotel – check with your hotel because many of them in the area will add on a wine tour to your reservation.
Here are more options for wine tours and transportation.
If you’re into golfing, or are with people that are, I highly recommend the Wine Valley Golf Club. It’s rated the best course near Walla Walla and is beautiful.
Hike or Spend Time in Nature
This region’s beautiful state parks are definitely worth exploring. McNary Wildlife Refuge, Chamna Wildlife Refuge, and the South Fork of the Walla Walla River are all stunning places to relax and unwind.
Visit the Area’s Museums
For the history buffs out there, Fort Walla Walla, Franklin County Historical Museum, and The Museum of Unnatural History are top Walla Walla tourist attractions.
Visit the Shops Downtown
Check out 35th+Butter, Ella Mae Boutique, and Studio Opal.
Where to Eat in Walla Walla:
There are a lot of great Walla Walla restaurants. Here are my favorites and some that I’ve been recommended by friends.
- Bacon and Eggs: This spot is awesome and has a great breakfast and chill vibes.
- Popular Donuts: Make sure to get here early because these delicious donuts sell out fast!
- The Maple Counter Cafe: This place has some of the most amazing breakfast and brunch food – people are regularly lining up outside the door because it’s THAT good! It’s a home-cooked meal kind of a place with an extensive menu of comfort food and hearty portions. Plus, they have outdoor seating if it’s nice outside.
- Graze: A great sandwich shop with fresh, delicious, and creative options.
- Brasserie Four: This place has yummy, flavorful French cuisine.
- AK’s Mercado: This is a famous gas station food spot that is super popular!
- Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen: They have homemade Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
- Public House 124: If you want a more casual atmosphere and a nice selection of cocktails and food, head here.
- La Cocina de la Abuela: Authentic Mexican food. This is the real deal! Everything here is fresh and wholesome.
- TMACS: Excellent food in the heart of downtown Walla Walla, this spot is perfect for a date night.
Another tip: Things close rather early in Walla Walla, so buy your alcohol (or anything else you may want later in the night) during the day.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend wine tasting in Walla Walla, WA! Let me know in the comments if there’s anything else I should add!
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