Walla Walla is definitely one of our favorite wine regions to visit – The people are friendly, the food is amazing, it’s not overly crowded, and of course, the wine is amazing!
One of our favorite ways to explore the wineries of Walla Walla is by foot. The Main Street downtown area is extremely walkable and there are nearly 40 wineries that you can get to by foot! That’s a lot of exploring!!! Fortunately, I’ve taken on the tough task of sampling most of them and today I’m going to share with you my “shortened” list of my 10 favorite downtown Walla Walla tasting rooms, listed in geographical order.
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…
Check out DAY 1 and DAY 2 of our Walla Walla wine tasting adventure.
The boys started the day off with golf at Wine Valley Golf Club. So for us girls, that meant time for breakfast and shopping … We took a stroll into town for the farmer’s market, browsed the local shops along Main Street, and spent this day tasting entirely in downtown Walla Walla.
Walla Walla Bread Company is a great spot to stop by for brunch – Not only do they have wonderful baked goods (perfect for toting along on a day of wine tasting), but they also have dishes like Breakfast Calzones, Corned Beef Hash and Sourdough Pancakes. This lively spot is a great first stop of the day. Be sure not to miss their Bloody Mary’s made with saké!
Our first wine visit of the day was to Doubleback. Doubleback is owned by former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe and you know what? He knows how to make wine! Offering only a Cabernet Sauvignon, Stolen Horse Syrah and Family Red – They were all excellent! You do need a tasting reservation, so be sure to call ahead. Before visiting, I had pictured this tasting room to be a bit uppity based on that fact, and the fact that it’s owned by a football player – But, the opposite was true. The friendliness of Walla Walla was evident, as it has been every place we’ve visited on our trip, and we were greeted with an beautiful cheese & fig plate to accompany our tastings. Be sure to check out the awesome walls which, from far away look like stone, but are really made from the slats of old wine barrels.
Charles Smith & K Vintners were next on the list. You may recognize their bold black and white graphic labels. The Charles Smith brand is widely available – Eve Chardonnay, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, The Velvet Devil Merlot and Boom Boom! Syrah are produced under their label. K Vintners wines carry over the same black and white theme, yet are less widely produced – We grabbed a couple bottles of The Boy Grenache to take home with us. Their tasting room is spacious and has garage door style windows which open wide in the summer so that you can enjoy the streetside patio.
By now, the boys were famished from a long day of golf – We headed to Brasserie Four for some bubbles, brews, AMAZING pommes-frites and artisan pizza. The summers are amazing in Walla Walla and, because we went for a late lunch, we we able to get a spot on the patio and do some Main Street people watching while enjoying our meal.
A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip!
For DAY 1 of our amazing trip to Walla Walla, Washington, click here.
This place had been on our mind since we started the trip – Bacon & Eggs, our absolute favorite breakfast spot in Walla Walla! When you go to Bacon & Eggs, be prepared for a bit of a wait, but believe me, it’s worth it! We’re all a bit biased towards the migas. However, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything you order. They’ve got stuffed brioche french toast, chilaquiles, and shrimp & grits – Fair to say the menu runs the gamut. Don’t forget to select some hot sauce from their wall of choices (I’m always partial to the aardvark sauce).
After we refueled for the day, we were off to do some more imbibing. Based on the suggestion of our server at L’Ecole, we headed for Rasa.
With a wide selection for us to taste ranging from Riesling to Syrah and Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon – We really enjoyed everything that we tasted here. Like EVERYTHING. If I had to choose a couple of favorites – I’d go with The Composer Riesling and the 2012 Fianchetto. Casey (who arrived via motorcycle and would by looks alone appear to be more at home in a Gold’s Gym than a winery) made us feel totally relaxed and at home. We will definitely be back on our next visit to Walla Walla.
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