Wander the Walla Walla Valley this Fall with
the Valley’s Top Winemakers and Winegrowers
Take part in custom itineraries focused on uncovering Walla Walla’s prized wineries, eateries, arts and cultural scene.
By Liz Knape and Shelby Pryor
The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance has unveiled its third annual WWander Walla Walla Valley Wine series of curated winemaker events. The organization has partnered with Walla Walla Valley winemakers and winegrowers to create custom itineraries focused on sharing their favorite Walla Walla experiences, including prized wineries, eateries and attractions, all while revealing tips and tricks along the way.
Walla Walla’s lively arts and cultural scene, culinary treasures, outdoor recreation and vibrant wine community has grown over the past decade and continues to attract the interest of both wine lovers and travelers alike. The Walla Walla Valley is home to the highest concentration of wineries in Washington, close to 3,000 acres of vineyards and panoramic views of the Blue Mountains.
“The Walla Walla Valley is a special place known for its small-town charm and world-class wine country experience,” says Robert Hansen, Executive Director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “Travelers love to do what the locals do and who better to recommend a weekend full of activities than the winemakers that call the Walla Walla Valley home? These unique itineraries offer a personal touch during one of the most beautiful times of year – fall. From the beauty of harvest to the intimacy of Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend, it is a wonderful time to wander the Walla Walla Valley.”
This year’s program includes eight new itineraries available Thursday through Sunday from October 3 to December 15. Visitors can register for the itinerary of their choice at WallaWallaWine.com/WWander. Registrants gain access to the full itinerary and receive program perks, including special tasting fees and a 10% discount on purchases of two or more bottles of wine upon check-in at the itinerary author’s host winery. Registration is free, and the itinerary is a pay-as-you-go experience. Mobile check-in is required at the itinerary author’s winery to receive benefits.
“There is no better way to experience this town than “WWandering” through it, finding gems unveiled by the recommendations made for you from those who know it intimately,” says Hansen. “Taking part in this journey allows visitors to indulge their interests, while hopefully discovering a few surprises along the way.”
Example itinerary stops include:
Kontos Cellars – Itinerary created by Cameron Kontos, Winemaker
- As a sixth-generation Walla Wallan and second-generation winemaker, Cameron Kontos invites visitors to take a step back in time, retracing the steps of his family’s history.
- Visit Fort Walla Walla Museum to see a train engine from the Rawhide Railroad, founded by Kontos’ 4x great grandfather Dorsey S. Baker.
- A tasting of the lineup at Kontos Cellars focuses on Walla Walla Valley grown wines, including their Alatus Blend, named for a family story.
- Lunch at Crossbuck Brewing, housed in an over-century-old train depot, featuring original tiles, chalkboards and more.
- A stroll through downtown Walla Walla, taking in the beautiful, historic structures on the way to the Whitman College campus.
L’Ecole N° 41 & Seven Hills Vineyard – Itinerary created by Sadie Drury, Vineyard Manager
- Viticulturist Sadie Drury guides you through the Valley, tasting wines from the award-winning Seven Hills Vineyard, and experiencing local mainstays along the way.
- Start your day with a cup of Dyer Straits coffee, roasted by Sadie’s parents, at Coffee Perk before heading out for a walk at Bennington Lake.
- Visit L’Ecole N° 41 to check in and taste wines from Seven Hills Vineyard and beyond.
- Sadie recommends a dinner at Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant that focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. The building where it is housed used to be a furniture company that happened to craft the 100-year old dining room table that Sadie eats at with her family every night.
Dunham Cellars – Itinerary created by Robert Campisi, Winemaker
- Adventure through the Walla Walla Valley pairing spectacular wines with scenic outdoor spaces and activities with winemaker Rob Campisi.
- Start the day with a round of golf at Wine Valley Golf Club or a walk around Pioneer Park to get your blood pumping.
- Grab lunch at The Green Lantern, a low-key eatery and bar. Robert recommends starting with the fried pickles and ordering a pizza or burger for lunch.
- Head out to Dunham Cellars to taste through their line-up, and perhaps play a round of cornhole on the lawn.
- Grab a table at Hattaway’s on Alder for dinner. Make sure to order a cocktail from their extensive cocktail list to enjoy alongside their locally inspired dishes with a Southern twist.
Dates Announced for 2020 Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine
The Walla Walla Valley’s signature wine event, Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine – The World of Syrah, is slated for July 16-18, 2020. Celebrate showcases a different wine varietal each year, comparing and sharing the similarities and differences of the Walla Walla Valley with other leading wine regions around the world. The 2020 event will focus on celebrating Syrah, the second most widely grown grape variety in the wine region.
“Walla Walla Valley Syrah has earned a world-class reputation for delivering a premium, terroir driven wine experience,” says Robert Hansen, Executive Director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “We look forward to honoring this distinguished varietal and there is no better time to meet face-to-face with winemakers who are pushing the boundaries of Walla Walla Valley Syrah than during Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine.”
The three-day event line-up will remain relatively unchanged from 2019’s World of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Celebrate event series will commence on Thursday afternoon July 16, with a kick-off talk that will explore the historical and cultural significance of Syrah, followed by Vintage Pour, an exclusive library tasting. Vintage Pour will feature vintages aged for ten years and longer from more than 40 Walla Walla Valley wineries.
On Friday, July 17, guests will be treated to a wine panel at which winemakers from around the globe will join Walla Walla Valley winemakers to engage guests with a lively discussion of acclaimed Syrah growing regions paired with samples of each panelist’s wine. The Wine Panel Presentations and Tastings is an immersive experience that demonstrates how wines vary among the world’s leading regions.
To conclude the Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine – The World of Syrah event series, guests can reserve a seat at the table with winemakers at the Collaborative Winemaker Dinner Series on Saturday, July 18. Ticket holders will experience an exclusive evening in the Walla Walla Valley as winemakers and chefs come together to create intimate food and wine experiences at locations throughout the region.
Schedule at a Glance
Thursday, July 16, 2020
- World of Syrah: Kick-Off Event at Gesa Power House Theatre | 2:30-4:00 p.m.
- Vintage Pour at CAVU Cellars | 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Friday, July 17, 2020
Bullet Wine Panel Presentations and Tastings at Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center | 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Bullet Syrah Grand Wine Tasting at Valdemar Estates | 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Bullet Collaborative Winemaker dinner series throughout the Walla Walla Valley | 6:00-9:00 p.m.
More event details, including participating wineries, event speakers and dinner locations will be announced in 2020. Visit www.CelebrateWallaWalla.com to sign up for event updates. Tickets go on sale December 2019.
About the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance
The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance is a nonprofit wine industry membership organization whose primary mission is to build an internationally acclaimed Walla Walla Valley wine brand among consumers, media, and trade by providing marketing programs on behalf of member wineries, vineyards, and partners. The Wine Alliance functions as the leading informational resource for consumers, media, and trade interested in learning more about the Valley’s wine industry