Taste of the Town
ROLL INTO WALLA WALLA on a good spring day and the first scent to greet you may be the sweet, green smell of peas. Then it’s fresh-turned earth and onion, followed, somewhere, at the very far edges of the nose, by fruit. What, were you expecting, only grapes?
It’s true, Walla Walla is among the state’s best-known wine tourism regions. More than 100 wineries call the college town home, and there are more ways than can be counted to visit them. Touring by area of town may be most expeditious, but another trick is to choose a favorite varietal—syrah or cabernet, for example—and visit the wineries that specialize in it. Often you’ll discover wines not on the shelves in your home market.
Planning a day of tasting by varietal is easy: the Walla Walla Wine Alliance’s winery guide (wallawallawine.com/winery-guide) maps the tasting rooms and lists the varietals those wineries pour. And two apps (see story on page 22) make touring all the easier.
Visit during special event weekends such as Spring Release, May 4–6; Vintage Walla Walla, June 14–17; or Holiday Barrel Tasting, Dec 7–9, and it’s virtually guaranteed all wineries will be open. For a more intimate tasting experience, and the opportunity to chat with the people behind the wine, consider visiting on non-event weekends and making appointments with wineries you especially want to visit.
Once your lips are stained, your cellar is stocked, and you can’t imagine raising one more glass to your lips, take time to explore the other sides of Walla Walla. The city’s quaint downtown makes for a great afternoon stroll, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, when the farmers market is in full swing at the corner of Fourth and Main, and on first Fridays, May through December, when 15 galleries, studios, and museums open their doors for an art walk. —JULIE H. CASE
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