Our time in Walla Walla was MADE by our friend Jessica. I was going to say that she made our time better in Walla Walla, but that should be a given. She makes everything better. Wine tasting? Better with Jessica. Hitchhiking? Better with Jessica. Dealing with nightmare landlords? Better with Jessica. Many of those stories are stories for another day. Or maybe a story for a glass of wine…which is the perfect segue into this review of the wineries we visited!
Jessica is a member at five wineries. Don’t sit there and judge her and say that five is arbitrarily too many. Instead, why don’t you go for a wine tasting weekend and appreciate how much money you can save if you take friends and family to the wineries you belong to! One of her friends joined us, too, so we were able to visit the wineries that she is a member of as well. There are, afterall, 35 tasting rooms just in the downtown. When you think about it, she is really helping to support local businesses!
So, here we go, in no particular order!
- Va Piano was our first stop. We were helped by the oh-so-delightful Daphne. We settled into some comfy chairs outside overlooking, what else, the vineyard. We slowly sipped our way through the mix of whites and reds and Daphne treated us to an extra sip of a delicious additional off-menu wine. We ended up buying three bottles, it was so good! We enjoyed one of them when celebrating Jessica’s birthday!
We saw a big group of people who spent more than $2000 on their tastings and wine…and didn’t tip. Tip your bartenders, people. And say please and thank you.
- Sleight of Hand has everything you’d possibly want in a wine tasting. They had a pizza food truck. They have a killer record collection and let you pick what album should be played next. The feature Neil Patrick Harris on one of their labels. They have delightful bartenders who were personable, friendly, and knowledgeable about their product (I have been out of practice as Jessica’s wing woman, but I think she and one of the bartenders in particular would make a great pair!). AND. Get this. They have a high schooler who does magic tricks!! Add all of that to really delicious wine and you’ll never want to leave! So, to sum up. If you like wine, music, magic, and fun…this is the winery for you.
- Brook and Bull has a great story…a badass award winning winemaker, who is a rock climber, avid traveler, momma of two. And, she is not even 40 yet! Awesome. All of that IS awesome. But what I love even more is that the proceeds from her Vital Wines label directly supports the local SOS Clinic that offers free health care regardless of citizenship, location, home, insurance status…which, in Walla Walla, means that she is helping to take care of the people who take care of her grapes and put food on our tables. And the wine is great! So, what is not to love there?
- Dama has some strong dames running the show! When we went, they even had a guest caterer who, for a nominal fee, was serving up a summer feast! The tasting room feels like the living room of your swanky artist aunt. Colorful, fun, welcoming. I think that is what they are going for! Jessica was recognized upon walking in the door and, not only that, invited to the winemakers house for dinner! This is how welcoming Walla Walla is! Jessica is delightful, do not get me wrong and I would invite her for dinner any night, but she’s also only been in town for a few months and is already a part of a community. That is in part due to her charm, but I think it says something about Walla Walla, too!
- Armstrong, based in Woodinville, WA, has a sweet little tasting room in downtown Walla Walla. We enjoyed sitting outside on a beautiful summer afternoon! The wine was all very tasty! I found this great description of each of the wines in the flight and the story behind each!
- I am always a sucker for a good story. Kontos Cellars certainly has one! They are six generations deep into Walla Walla and of a wine making, Greek heritage. We liked the mix of reds and whites–and they were one of only two with a bubbly option.
- At College Cellars you can feel like you are doing a service to the next generation by drinking wine. Wine drinking is altruistic! College Cellars is a teaching winery located at the Center for Enology and Viticulture on the campus of Walla Walla Community College. You’d never know that the wine you are sipping is made by those honing their craft (supervised by experts, of course). We also had just about the most delightful bartender who recently retired and now enjoys pouring wine at the tasting room. We learned at some point that there are only three community colleges that teach viticulture. Gotta love community colleges!
SeuLei Cellars was one of our last stops and we got there just before they closed. So, it did feel like a bit of a rushed experience. But that is our fault. We enjoyed their sparkling wine so much we brought a bottle home for Jessica’s birthday celebration! We also love women owned businesses–especially in industries that are normally dominated by men. And, how about that, the winemaker is a graduate of Walla Walla Community college.