Shane and I have been talking about a getaway over to Eastern Washington’s wine country for awhile now, so when Jack and LaVerne invited us to head over to Walla Walla with them for the weekend, I thought, “Good wine?  Fantastic weather?  Time with good friends?  Yes, Please!”  And we were off…

Our first stop on Saturday was at Hightower Cellars in Red Mountain.  The wines there were good, but I found myself particularly taken with this wall constructed out of planks cut from old barrels.  Very cool.

From Red Mountain, we headed farther east and made a stop at L’Ecole No. 41.  This was a very cool spot – the tasting facility was set in an old schoolhouse.  Very charming.  Again I found myself spending more time looking at the building than actually tasting the wines, but that would soon change.  My palette had only been teased at this point, although we were certainly on our way to having an absolutely fantastic day.  Look at those smiles…

After L’Ecole, we headed farther east to an area just south of Walla Walla.  This was where we really started getting into the good stuff.  We popped into a tiny little winery called a’Maurice and I tasted a Viognier that made my eyes get wide and my taste buds go, “Wow!”  K Vintners had a Syrah I really enjoyed and a farmhouse that Shane and I are hoping to retire in one day.  And Waters Winery had a Cab that I will probably dream about next time we are craving a good glass of wine on a chilly Seattle evening.  We hit a lot of wineries and tasted a lot of wine that day (I believe the final tally was 30 pours!), but we somehow still managed to take things slow and soak in the beautiful scenery and warm Walla Walla sunshine.

The fruit on the vines was full and plump and ripe for the picking.  Many of the vineyards were just beginning their crush.  I was glad we were able to see the vines while many of them still held grapes – a vineyard just doesn’t quite seem like a vineyard without these purply clusters.

We kicked off Sunday with a trip to the Walla Walla farmer’s market.  The market was small, but was stocked with some fantastic deals on produce.  We walked away with a heavy sack of plums for $3, and Jack and LaVerne purchased several pounds of tomatoes for just a couple of dollars.  Walla Walla has such a small-town feel to it – quiet, quaint, and full of very friendly people.  The real charm of the town really shone through when the old, slightly overweight Elvis impersonator jumped onto the small market stage and begain his round of Elvis tunes adn 11 a.m.  No one batted an eyelash, as if this were perfectly typical town entertainment.  I have to say, the guy wasn’t half-bad.  And his bright blue, bell-bottomed jumpsuit was an impressive fashion statement.

We hit three more wineries that day, concluding our whirlwind trip with a tour of Col Solare Vineyards in Red Mountain.  We got the insider’s scoop and were able to check out the wine tanks, the cellar, and stroll among the vines.  The view from the winery’s terrace was stunning, and the sun that hit us as we stood there was so wonderfully intense.  I was reminded of California for a moment.

This was such a perfect little weekend jaunt.  I definitely have some work to do on my palette – I don’t feel like I can pick up the subleties of what makes a certain wine really special – but if practice makes perfect, I’m willing to do my homework on this one…


  1. Layne Schroeder says:

    Next time you venture to Walla Walla, you should also stop in at Walla Walla Roastery for some great, in-house, roasted coffee.

    The Roastery is next to Dunham Cellars.

  2. little black journal » Blog Archive » perfect portland… says:

    […] recently that we were due for a getaway with our good friends Jack and La Verne – we did Walla Walla together a couple of years ago, met up in Portugal during our European vacation last year, and, in […]