Sip, see and do as the winemakers do.
The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance (WWVWA) has collaborated with some of the best Walla Walla winemakers to create custom itineraries focused on experiencing Walla Walla as they do. The curated winemaker itinerary series is available to the public every Saturday from October 14th through December 16th.
“We get asked by out-of-town friends and guests that stop into our tasting room where they should go tasting next or what restaurant they should check out,” said Rick Small, first-generation owner of Woodward Canyon Winery. “Everyone seems to want to do what the locals do, and we love to get a new up-and-coming winery on their radar or tell them about where to get a great cocktail in town when they’re done with wine for the day. We hope that visitors to the Walla Walla Valley enjoy some of our favorite places in town, and continue to come back and visit us, year round”.
A different itinerary will be available each Saturday and is unique to the winemaker who curated it. Visitors can register for the Saturday of their choice at WallaWallaWine.com/WWander and registrants gain access to the full itinerary and receive exclusive perks such as winemaker talks, property tours, wine club member benefits for the day or complimentary tastings included in the itinerary. Registration is free and the itinerary is a same-day, pay-as-you-go experience.
What does a winemaker curated itinerary feel like? We had the opportunity to find out.
Our itinerary was curated by Woodward Canyon Winery’s Rick Small and Jordan Dunn-Small, first- and second-generation owners.
The perfect morning begins at the Colville Street Patisserie where chatting with the owners and enjoying coffee and pastries is a small town way of life. Local artwork adorns the walls and the Patisserie is obviously a local favorite as the building fills with lively conversation only minutes after opening their doors to morning guests.
The Colville Street Patisserie opened in 2005 and showcases classic French pastries, cakes and desserts for all occasions. They also offer gelato, espresso and beer. Owners David Christensen and Tiffany Cain purchased the patisserie in 2008.
A stroll through Walla Walla’s oldest park, Pioneer Park was next to walk off the pastries. Established in 1902, Pioneer Park features playground, ball fields. tennis courts, walking paths and an aviary. Tranquil and scenic, it’s the perfect place to catch a breath of fresh air in between tasting rooms and restaurants.
Our next visit was a restored 1870’s farmhouse in Lowden. If you’re familiar with Walla Walla Wineries and Winemakers you will immediately recognize this description as Woodward Canyon’s Tasting Room. Established in 1981 by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small, Woodward Canyon was the second winery in the Walla Walla Valley. The winery has consistently produced premium, age-worthy cabernet sauvignons, merlots and chardonnays. The warmth of the tasting room is the felt immediately as you step inside. It’s the perfect place to sip, shop and visit with friends.
Long Shadow Vintners was like a long-lost friend. We first visited with winemaker Gilles Nicault two years ago and marveled at the interior and large picture windows in the tasting room that showcases the wine making process.
Although the trees outdoors have grown, not much else changed within the elegant tasting room and wines, proving consistency in their excellence.
Long Shadow Vintners is a collection of seven ultra-premium Columbia Valley Wines showcasing the viticultural excellence of the growing region and honoring the internationally acclaimed winemakers who inspired them.
After strolling through a park and two tasting rooms we were ready for lunch. Located in downtown Walla Walla, Brasserie Four is the perfect stop to sit, eat and chat about the day. Local art adorns the walls of the delightful French restaurant and the authentic menu pairs well with a hungry crew. Whether it’s a hearty French meal paired with a glass of wine from their list, pizza and a draft beer or crepe Suzette and Stumptown espresso, Brasserie Four delivers and we were delighted to see it on our itinerary.
Well fed and rested we headed out to Tertulia Cellars. The eclectic tasting room has a vineyard view and is pure joy to explore. While tasting we headed outdoors to enjoy a lively game of Pétanque with winemaker, Ryan Raber. As beautiful as the wines are, friendliness and joviality dominate the atmosphere at this winery.
After a day of tasting many wines the next stop on the itinerary was a place to unwind. Burwood Brewing Company is a favorite stop of many local winemakers and as they say ‘it takes a lot of good beer to make good wine.’ Owners David and Jennifer Marshall are a busy, dynamic duo with years of experience behind them and they have much to celebrate as earlier this month they moved into a new taproom and much larger brewery.
Our day ended at Whitehouse-Crawford for dessert. Foods at the restaurant are sourced from local farmers and artisans and the wines from local producers, making this a total Walla Walla experience not to be missed. Whitehouse-Crawford was operated as lumber planing mill and furniture factory until its sale to the City of Walla Walla in 1988. The interior is a lovely, aged curiosity and that brings many queries to keep the knowledgable staff on their toes.
Follow link for the full list of winemaker curated itineraries available to the public every Saturday from October 14th through December 16th.
Follow along on Social Media: #WWander