L’Ecole Winery resides in a historic 1915 schoolhouse in Walla Walla, Washington. Be sure to stop in for a wine tasting of their rich, deep red wines as well as some outstanding white wines like Chenin Blanc and Semillon.
Garrison Creek Cellars produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from only the most select grapes from the Les Collines Vineyard in Walla Walla, Washington.
A behind the scenes tour of Walla Walla, Washington with Chef Andrae Bopp of Andrae’s Kitchen including his favorite wineries and local producers.
If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you may remember that I was lucky enough to take a cooking class with Chef Andrae Bopp in Walla Walla last winter as part of their annual February for Foodies event. I was drooling over every single dish that he prepared for us, and ever since then I’ve told every single person I’ve talked to that they need to stop by his restaurant if they’re in Walla Walla. Oh, and by the way, his restaurant is in a gas station…
Chef Andrae Bopp has a lot under his belt – He graduated with honors from the French Culinary Institute, has worked in some amazing restaurants – including Le Bernadin which carries a Michelin Three star rating, and brought the “Farm to Table” movement to Boise with his restaurant Andrae’s. After moving to Walla Walla in 2008, he also earned the title of Assistant Winemaker – working at Dusted Valley and becoming their Executive Chef as well.
In 2009, Andrae set off on his own venture, opening up his mobile food truck – Andrae’s Kitchen – with the intention of travelling to local vineyards and serving up his internationally-influenced food on the spot. And, a few years later, Andrae’s Kitchen took up a permanent residence inside the Cenex Convenience Store and Gas Station – Operating seven days a week, day and night. It’s a busy, bustling spot with a smoker out back that smells like heaven. It’s obviously his baby – He even designed it by hand…
This is where our adventure began.
Our weekend trip to Walla Walla, Washington was full of wonderful wines, perfect weather, good friends, and amazing food!!! We were spoiled all the way around. You may know Walla Walla for its sweet onions, but there is SO much more to this fantastic little town:
- Wine – Over 125 wineries and tasting rooms in the valley, with thousands of wines scoring 90+
- Food – In 2012 and 2013 Walla Walla was a runner-up in the best food category for the Best of the Road
- People – In 2011, USA Today selected Walla Walla as the friendliest small city in the United States
Located in the southeastern portion of Washington, it’s about 4 hours from Portland and Seattle. Over the last three decades, Walla Walla has seen a tremendous boom in its wine industry and has become a premier wine destination. I think that a huge part of this has to be contributed to the community – Such a supportive and tightly knit group of farmers and wine makers who really take an interest in what each other are doing and have no hesitation in promoting one another.
The tasting rooms are laid back, relaxed and friendly. To me that is SO important. A fun environment where wine is meant to be enjoyed. I know so many people who feel intimidated to go wine tasting – “I don’t know what wines I like“, “I don’t know what to taste for“, “Why are there spit buckets“…? Just do what you want, taste the wines you think will be appealing to you, and maybe surprise yourself with some that sound out of your norm, pour out what you don’t like… You don’t need to pick up aromas of honeydew and band aids from a wine, maybe you’ll get cherry and pepper aromas. Everyone has a taste of their own. Oh, and those spit buckets… I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone actually spit out a wine. It is however, perfectly acceptable to pour out what you don’t want after tasting. It’s a actually a good idea – You’re probably going to be doing quite a bit of tasting!
Another great part about wine tasting in Walla Walla? The tasting room fees are REALLY reasonable. You may not believe this, but I have NEVER been to Napa. (I know, I know, I NEED to go… Someday – It’s definitely on the list). I do, however, know plenty of people who do go to Napa on the regular. I’ve heard rumors of tasting fees that run $30+. In Walla Walla, most tasting fees are $10, and that fee is refunded if you purchase a bottle of wine. We bought A LOT of wine, like a lot a lot. We planned ahead and ordered a couple of new wine coolers before the trip, but they’re full already. We need a couple more, we have a problem… #GoodProblemToHave #NotComplaining