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8 Great Places to Drink Wine in Walla Walla

These tasting rooms range from laid-back to luxe, featuring wines that will suit any palate

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While it’s easier than ever to sample Washington wines without leaving Seattle, there are still great reasons to make the trip out to Walla Walla. The state’s winemaking destination has a charming downtown, exceptional restaurants, and, first and foremost, an array of character-rich, one-of-a-kind tasting rooms, with atmospheres ranging from raucous to refined. You may come to Walla Walla for the high-quality wines, but you’re just as likely to enjoy it for the experiences you have while tasting.

These eight places are prime examples. The winemakers are passionate about what they do, and they’re producing some excellent, distinctive wines, but they also know how to have a good time. Over an afternoon of touring, you can be your own DJ, take in majestic mountain views, stroll through an art gallery, and pretend to be a fireman.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Long Shadows Winery

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1604 Frenchtown Rd
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 526-0905
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This tasting room, tricked out with leather club chairs, picture windows, and Chihuly glass, is one of Walla Walla’s most luxe. There’s table service here, with a knowledgeable pourer recounting the story behind each wine. Its riesling can be a revelation, and it’s fascinating to compare Bordeaux blends done in Old and New World styles. Tastings are by appointment, and there’s an option to tour the facility, which is worth it. Long Shadows is the brainchild of one of Washington’s most influential wine moguls, former Chateau Ste. Michelle CEO Allen Shoup.

2. Sleight of Hand Cellars

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1959 J B George Rd
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 525-3661
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Tasting at Sleight of Hand is a little like visiting your cool uncle’s den. Walls are decorated with colorful, trippy posters — mainly blowups of Sleight of Hand labels — hanging above shelves filled with thousands of rock LPs. You can pick a record from the collection and make it the soundtrack of the tasting, which leads to the occasional spontaneous dance party. Grapes from some of Washington’s most coveted regions, including Red Mountain, Snipes Mountain, and the Rocks, go into a diverse range of wines, including several single-vineyard syrahs.

3. Pepper Bridge Winery

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1704 J B George Rd
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 525-6502
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The hallmark of Pepper Bridge is elegance. Swiss-born winemaker Jean-Francois Pellet brings Old World refinement to his estate-grown Bordeaux-style wines — he prizes subtlety over boldness. The tasting room isn’t fancy or fussy, but there’s an understated classiness to it. The highlight is the back patio, where you can sample cabernet sauvignon while soaking in a gorgeous view of the valley and the Blue Mountains. If you like it here, also check out Amavi Cellars, under the same ownership and located a few minutes away.

4. Foundry Vineyards

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1111 Abadie St
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 529-0736
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Located just west of downtown, Foundry is a winery with roots in fine art — its owners are world-renowned sculpture fabricators, and the tasting room includes a gallery, a sculpture garden, and a design shop. If there were no wine here, Foundry would still be a Walla Walla highlight for its innovative exhibitions, but the wine has a creative streak too. Highlights include a crisp un-oaked chardonnay, and the “Pét Project” — three types of sparkling wine done in the pétillant-naturel style (an old method of bottling wine that is only partially fermented). On Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings you can work out the kinks with yoga classes in the beautiful gallery.

5. Charles Smith Wines & K Vintners

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35 S Spokane St
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 526-5230
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This downtown tasting room is in an old auto repair warehouse with a stylized industrial feel and a classic-rock soundtrack, harkening back to Smith’s roots as a rock band manager. But don’t let the casual atmosphere fool you — the wines here are some of the state’s most highly acclaimed. The SIXTO label, which produces chardonnay exclusively, and K Vintners, which focuses on syrah, are both regular award winners.

6. Tranche Cellars

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705 Berney Dr
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 526-3500
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East of town, Tranche’s sleek, handsome winery, set on a hill overlooking a sheep meadow, may be Walla Walla’s most idyllic location for tasting — it’s a pleasing combination of modern and pastoral. Here, you’ll taste some of Walla Walla’s best Rhône-style blends, made to emulate wines of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation (known for versatility). On most Friday evenings there’s live music, and when the weather’s appropriate, they light a bonfire.

7. Tamarack Cellars

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700 C St
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 526-3533
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In a novel feat of repurposing, Walla Walla’s old military airport has been transformed into a collection of wineries. (There’s some brewing and distilling going on as well.) You aren’t out among the vines here, but the place has an appealing communal feel to it. No one captures that spirit better than Tamarack, located in the airport’s former firehouse. It’s casual and unpretentious, but the wines — particularly the much-lauded merlot — hold their own with anything coming from more posh producers. Keeping with the laidback vibe, this is the only Walla Walla tasting room with a shuffleboard table.

8. SMAK Wines

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594 Piper Ave
Walla Walla, WA 99362

At the far end of the Walla Walla airport is what’s known as the area’s wine “incubator,” five side-by-side facilities made available to start-up producers for four-year stints. The latest fledgling operation is SMAK, run by Fiona Mak, a rare female winemaker with an even rarer business model. She makes rosé exclusively, in three varieties: sangiovese, pinot gris, and a syrah-counoise-mourvedre blend. A visit here can be a palate cleanser after tasting robust reds elsewhere, and the tasting room is a refreshing change of pace, too: an airy, white-and-pastel setting that feels like a little piece of Southern California.

1. Long Shadows Winery

1604 Frenchtown Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362

This tasting room, tricked out with leather club chairs, picture windows, and Chihuly glass, is one of Walla Walla’s most luxe. There’s table service here, with a knowledgeable pourer recounting the story behind each wine. Its riesling can be a revelation, and it’s fascinating to compare Bordeaux blends done in Old and New World styles. Tastings are by appointment, and there’s an option to tour the facility, which is worth it. Long Shadows is the brainchild of one of Washington’s most influential wine moguls, former Chateau Ste. Michelle CEO Allen Shoup.

1604 Frenchtown Rd
Walla Walla, WA 99362

2. Sleight of Hand Cellars

1959 J B George Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Tasting at Sleight of Hand is a little like visiting your cool uncle’s den. Walls are decorated with colorful, trippy posters — mainly blowups of Sleight of Hand labels — hanging above shelves filled with thousands of rock LPs. You can pick a record from the collection and make it the soundtrack of the tasting, which leads to the occasional spontaneous dance party. Grapes from some of Washington’s most coveted regions, including Red Mountain, Snipes Mountain, and the Rocks, go into a diverse range of wines, including several single-vineyard syrahs.

1959 J B George Rd
Walla Walla, WA 99362

3. Pepper Bridge Winery

1704 J B George Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362

The hallmark of Pepper Bridge is elegance. Swiss-born winemaker Jean-Francois Pellet brings Old World refinement to his estate-grown Bordeaux-style wines — he prizes subtlety over boldness. The tasting room isn’t fancy or fussy, but there’s an understated classiness to it. The highlight is the back patio, where you can sample cabernet sauvignon while soaking in a gorgeous view of the valley and the Blue Mountains. If you like it here, also check out Amavi Cellars, under the same ownership and located a few minutes away.

1704 J B George Rd
Walla Walla, WA 99362

4. Foundry Vineyards

1111 Abadie St, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Located just west of downtown, Foundry is a winery with roots in fine art — its owners are world-renowned sculpture fabricators, and the tasting room includes a gallery, a sculpture garden, and a design shop. If there were no wine here, Foundry would still be a Walla Walla highlight for its innovative exhibitions, but the wine has a creative streak too. Highlights include a crisp un-oaked chardonnay, and the “Pét Project” — three types of sparkling wine done in the pétillant-naturel style (an old method of bottling wine that is only partially fermented). On Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings you can work out the kinks with yoga classes in the beautiful gallery.

1111 Abadie St
Walla Walla, WA 99362

5. Charles Smith Wines & K Vintners

35 S Spokane St, Walla Walla, WA 99362

This downtown tasting room is in an old auto repair warehouse with a stylized industrial feel and a classic-rock soundtrack, harkening back to Smith’s roots as a rock band manager. But don’t let the casual atmosphere fool you — the wines here are some of the state’s most highly acclaimed. The SIXTO label, which produces chardonnay exclusively, and K Vintners, which focuses on syrah, are both regular award winners.

35 S Spokane St
Walla Walla, WA 99362

6. Tranche Cellars

705 Berney Dr, Walla Walla, WA 99362

East of town, Tranche’s sleek, handsome winery, set on a hill overlooking a sheep meadow, may be Walla Walla’s most idyllic location for tasting — it’s a pleasing combination of modern and pastoral. Here, you’ll taste some of Walla Walla’s best Rhône-style blends, made to emulate wines of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation (known for versatility). On most Friday evenings there’s live music, and when the weather’s appropriate, they light a bonfire.

705 Berney Dr
Walla Walla, WA 99362

7. Tamarack Cellars

700 C St, Walla Walla, WA 99362

In a novel feat of repurposing, Walla Walla’s old military airport has been transformed into a collection of wineries. (There’s some brewing and distilling going on as well.) You aren’t out among the vines here, but the place has an appealing communal feel to it. No one captures that spirit better than Tamarack, located in the airport’s former firehouse. It’s casual and unpretentious, but the wines — particularly the much-lauded merlot — hold their own with anything coming from more posh producers. Keeping with the laidback vibe, this is the only Walla Walla tasting room with a shuffleboard table.

700 C St
Walla Walla, WA 99362

8. SMAK Wines

594 Piper Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362

At the far end of the Walla Walla airport is what’s known as the area’s wine “incubator,” five side-by-side facilities made available to start-up producers for four-year stints. The latest fledgling operation is SMAK, run by Fiona Mak, a rare female winemaker with an even rarer business model. She makes rosé exclusively, in three varieties: sangiovese, pinot gris, and a syrah-counoise-mourvedre blend. A visit here can be a palate cleanser after tasting robust reds elsewhere, and the tasting room is a refreshing change of pace, too: an airy, white-and-pastel setting that feels like a little piece of Southern California.

594 Piper Ave
Walla Walla, WA 99362

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