In follow up to our Seattle Culinary and Washington Wine Tour, we planned a trip to the Columbia Valley wine country. We traveled to Walla Walla (Washington) to visit the Walla Walla AVA wine appellation there, to visit some favorite producers, and meet and discover some legendary and emerging labels. Our trip yielded new discoveries, wonderful meetings and new/renewed friendships, great wines, great food, history and spectacular scenery. It exceeded our expectations on so many levels, we can't wait to go back, and have much to look forward to on our return visit (s). Immeasurable thanks to Carrie Alexander of Force Majeure Vineyards for hosting us and making some wonderful introductions.
|Carrie Alexander and Linda at Force Majeure|
As I wrote recently in these pages in our Woodinville Washington Wine Tour report, Washington State wines are coming of their own achieving new heights in quality and recognition. The number of Washington wineries has increased 400% in the last decade and has grown proportionally as a tourism industry. It is the nation's second largest wine producer. Interestingly, the area is geographically located on approximately the same latitude (46ºN) as some of the great French wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy.
As we discover more incredible wines, its becoming more and more apparent that Washington State wines are on par with the top wines from the world's great wine regions. Yet, for lack of notoriety, in many cases (no pun intended), they represent some great values for great QPR (Quality Price Ratio) wine buys, from casual sipping to serious collecting.
Indeed, I wrote recently in these pages about Long Shadows , a collaborative project by Allan Shoup, former leader of Chateau St Michelle where he introduced Washington State grapes to winemakers from around the world in collaboration to produce quality wines. He founded Long Shadows to produce world class premium wines in Washington.
Shoup has recruited a top winemaker with expertise and a track record producing best in class wine in several categories or types of wine based on a varietal grape. The resulting Vintners Collection, features a Long Shadows label produced in collaboration with a legendary winemaker in each category. See my Long Shadows Wine Cellars feature for more details.
Washington State wine growing areas are now officially recognized in 14 federally designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), also commonly known as appellations. The vineyards producing wine grapes in the fourteen different appellations lie in the Columbia Valley river basin that cuts through the center of the state from North to South and then turns west separating Oregon from Washington as it heads to the Pacific.
In the Walla Walla AVA, in the southeastern corner of the state, the number of wine producers in the area has grown to over 150 and the total vineyard acreage has grown from 800 acres in 1999, to 1,300 in 2011 and nearly 3,000 in 2017.
Highlights of our Walla Walla wine and dine experience were:
|Rotie Cellars and Browne Tasting rooms|
|Mark Ryan Winery Walla Walla Tasting Room|
|Canoe Ridge Walla Walla Winery|
|Woodward Canyon Walla Walla Winery|
|L'Ecole Walla Walla Winery|
|Spring Valley Vineyards Walla Walla |
Watch for upcoming blogposts and updates on our tours, tastings, dining and travel discoveries and experiences.