Washington Trips August 27, 2020
Walla Walla, Washington Was Just Voted America’s Best Wine Region For 2020, And We Agree
Spend a day or two exploring Walla Walla and you’re bound to notice something rather interesting… the people there seem genuinely happy. Restaurant servers greet you with a smile, winemakers are excited to explain their processes, and people on the streets are clearly enjoying themselves. There’s truly a positive energy that radiates through the valley, and fortunately, it’s contagious.
Whether it’s the culinary scene, award-winning wine, higher education, or simple relaxation that brings you to town, you’ll probably leave with a smile. You may be tempted to simply not leave at all.
Recently, it was announced that Walla Walla was named America’s Best Wine Region in the 2020 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
While this is a well-earned and fantastic achievement, it didn't happen overnight.
This charming little city has slowly made its way to the top of the wine tourism list since Leonetti Cellar was named the first commercial winery in 1977.
Since the 1970s and 80s, the winery count has grown to more than 120, and it seems as if the valley is just getting started.
This isn't the first award Walla Walla has received -- it was named Best Wine Town in Sunset Magazine in 2018, and Travel + Leisure called it one of the 50 best places to visit in the world in 2018.
However, this award is the result of public vote, so it feels especially rewarding.
You could spend weeks here enjoying local wine, beer, food, coffee, and desserts and not experience it all.
However, if you're going to come for a weekend (and you really should) we recommend adding the following spots to your itinerary.
Brook & Bull Cellars is a gorgeous property, owned by beloved local winemaker Ashley Trout.
Ashley is known for crafting wines that reflect her own palate, and everything is hand-crafted from vine to bottle. And with plenty of outdoor space for tasting, you'll be able to soak up plenty of sunshine, which Walla Walla enjoys 188 days out of the year.
Brook & Bull is currently open by appointment Thursdays - Sundays from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Of course, these hours will change as Washington continues to re-open, so check the website or call before you plan to visit.
Treat yourself to lunch at the Walla Walla Bread Company, a friendly downtown eatery that offers top quality food in a casual setting.
They're best known for their freshly baked artisan breads and pastries, but they also serve fantastic lunch (and breakfast) fare.
The paninis and salads here are exceptional, but the pizza is to die for.
They serve Naples-style pizza that will transport you straight to Italy. You're welcome to take your meal to-go or enjoy it on the large outdoor patio, which is perfectly set for social distancing.
Tranche Cellars' Blue Mountain Estate Vineyard is absolutely stunning, and their flagship red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah) will convert even the biggest white wine fans.
Tastings are offered Monday - Saturday by appointment only. And if you have a wine-loving group, do yourselves the favor of booking an ATV Vineyard Tour when current conditions allow. While they're temporarily suspended, the Tranche team plans to resume them as soon as possible.
Pick your favorite bottle of wine from your tastings and pair it with dinner from Andrae's Kitchen.
This little restaurant is located in a gas station, but don't let that deter you. Chef Andrae Bopp, a St. Louis native, brings years of culinary training and experience to the table, and the food is unbelievably good.
The menu consists of everything from tacos to burgers and brisket, and it's all delicious.
They also serve a breakfast menu so tasty, they've been awarded the Best Gas Station Breakfast in America.
Andrae's Kitchen currently has a convenient drive thru, so it's possible to get a gourmet meal without getting out of your car.
Take your food to one of Walla Walla's many local parks or an open vineyard and enjoy it to the fullest.
After a day of wine tasting, you'll usually wake up hungry in the morning... and you'll have to be pretty hungry to do Maple Counter Cafe justice.
Everything here is made from scratch by a team with three generations of culinary experience.
One of the best sellers here is the Fruit Blintzes, which currently happen to be peach.
They are the stuff dreams are made of. If you don't have a sweet tooth, split an order with the table, but do not pass them up.
The breakfast menu at Maple Counter Cafe is as enormous as the portions, and you really can't go wrong.
They have an entire section of the menu dedicated to Benedicts, and they're all scrumptious.
Eternal Wine is one of the newer kids on the block. It was established in 2014 by owner and winemaker Brad Binko, who is equally as passionate about good music as he is quality vino.
Brad grew up in Buffalo, but was understandably too charmed by Walla Walla to leave.
If you're a fan of both red and white wines, this is the place for you -- in fact, there's even a unique orange wine on the menu.
The tasting fee allows you five tastes of anything on the menu, and choosing isn't easy. Eternal Wine is currently open 7 days a week, so you'll have plenty of chances to go.
Seven Hills Winery has a downtown tasting room with a friendly team ready to pour for you Friday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. by appointment.
Founder Casey McClellan was born and raised in Eastern Washington, and he and his family are proprietors of one of the area’s first vineyards. Their dedication to the local community is apparent, and as an added bonus, the wine is flawless.
There are dozens of delicious dinner spots in Walla Walla, but you're truly doing yourself a disservice if you don't check out Hattaway's on Alder.
They're open daily from 4 p.m. - close, although reserving this beautiful private room requires an advance reservation.
Hattaway's on Alder is owned by a lovely couple who wanted to bring the cooking traditions of the Southeast and rural America to Walla Walla.
They also brought old-fashioned Southern hospitality, a delightful ambiance, and some of the best cocktails in town.
The menu has something for everyone, from creative appetizers like these "BBQ Chips" to Chicken & Grits.
They also have plenty of veggies in the Field section of the menu for those who prefer to eat light.
Hattaway's on Alder also has a large outdoor patio perfect for dining under the stars.
We highly recommend making a reservation for this place. It's quite popular, and rightfully so.
Walla Walla is currently in Phase Two of Washington's re-opening plan, and the community has done an amazing job of coming together to make visiting as safe as possible.
There's never been a better time for Washingtonians to stick close to home and enjoy our own backyard, so plan a trip to America's Best Wine Region whenever you're ready to travel.
Have you been to Walla Walla lately?
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Address: 705 Berney Dr, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA Address: Hattaway's on Alder, 125 W Alder St, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA Address: 201 E Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA Address: The Maple Counter Cafe, 209 E Alder St, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA Address: 212 N 3rd Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA Address: 1249 Lyday Ln, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA Address: AK's Mercado, 21 E Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA