Following the adventures of the Yakima Valley, we headed over to Walla Walla for the weekend to meet with friends and drink wine, which is more or less why Walla Walla exists. Washington is steadily making a name for itself on the international wine scene, due mostly to grapes grown in Walla Walla. 4 of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines and 2 of Wine Enthusiast’s come from this area, so you know that the wine is going to be good.
And it was.
One of our friends works in the wine industry and knows Walla Walla well, so he took us to some of his favorite wineries while educating us on wine. Anyone could spend an entire weekend tasting in downtown proper and have a fantastic time, but to truly feel like wine tasting happened you need to drive out into the vineyards. We made sure to do a little of both.
Every Saturday downtown Walla Walla hosts its farmer’s market, so we started our day off perusing stalls and picking up food for the weekend. We’ve always loved farmer’s markets and one of the numerous things we look forward to with this trip is visiting local farmer’s markets. It’s still early in the year to see a lot of stalls, but even the small markets make us happy.
Bellies full and local farmers supported, we headed to what is perhaps my favorite winery ever, El Corazon. If you like funky places with good drinks, this is the place for you.
El Corazon decimates any pretension that you might associate with wine tasting. The bar feels more like a burrito place in a college town, with off-beat decorum, a shop dog, oddities strewn about the walls, neat signage, and soft-core porn playing on the back wall. It’s not the kind of place you’d think to find phenomenal $40 bottles of wine, but it is.
Wine in hand and belly, we left downtown to taste wine under the open skies of Southeastern Washington.
Our next stop was the winery our friend works at, Dusted Valley. Set among the lowlands of the valley, the tasting room represents what one thinks of when one goes wine tasting: rustic houses, patios, and wine galore.
After the tasting, our friend spoke to the vintner, who agreed to give us a tour of their production facility. We looked behind-the-scenes at how wine is made and stored, and were able to ask questions. It was truly a treat.
After a full day of wine, we headed back home to, well, drink more wine and play card games. We brought Cards Against Humanity but passed on playing that to have fun with the more enjoyable (in my opinion) Joking Hazard.
Somehow, we woke up the next morning. Having substituted red blood cells for tannins, we decided that the next day should be a beer day. The morning started off leisurely with a stroll around our AirBnb visiting horses. Apparently, if you live on the outskirts of Walla Walla you must own horses, because every single house had at least one.
We stopped by Quirk and Burwood brewing and while their beers were okay, there was nothing impressive about any of them. My favorite brewery of the day was Water Buffalo Brewery, a small operation run out of the garage of the brewer. I was too interested in the beer to take pictures (sorry), as the brewer continually tweaks each recipe and has fun with brewing. The most memorable beer was a Russian Imperial Stout and White Wheat mix called the Big Lebrewski.
More drinks and fun followed that night, but before we said goodbye to Walla Walla we had to get road fuel (read: pastries) at the Colville Street Patisserie. The incredibly decadent food made for good driving!