The Walla Walla AVA in the eastern part of this state offers superb festivals, dining and touring options, says Paul Gregutt. Read the Washington State travel guide, including the best wineries to visit, plus top places to stay, eat, shop and relax. As published in the Decanter April 2013 issue.
Walla Walla AVA: Six of the best wineries to visit
☆ L’Ecole No 41
Located next to Woodward Canyon, these two make for a fine half-day tasting, with veteran winemakers and access to estate-grown grapes from vineyards more than 30 years old.
☆ Long Shadows
A venture conceived by wine industry veteran Allen Shoup, and managed by French winemaker Gilles Nicault. Each wine is the project of a different visiting winemaker, including Randy Dunn, John Duval and Armin Diel. Booking required.
Part of the expansive Ste Michelle Wine Estates group, most wines are sourced from Walla Walla vineyards, and many made in limited quantities. It’s set on a hilltop with a commanding view of the vineyards. The Walla Walla Merlot is still best.
☆ Foundry Vineyards
A regional institution, attracting sculptors from around the world. The tasting room features much of this, alongside limited releases, many from owner Mark Anderson’s vineyard.
☆ Charles Smith Wines
Smith is the impresario of a number of wineries. K Vintners, on the grounds of a century-old farmstead, specialises in Syrah. The Charles Smith wines include the most and least expensive offerings, and the tasting room often hosts rock ’n’ roll parties.
☆ Dunham Cellars
A broad line-up, from Riesling to single-vineyard Syrahs. The tasting room is hung with massive oil paintings by Eric Dunham, many of which adorn the labels of his reserve wines. The winery offers two sites for caravans. By reservation.