Walla Walla is so lovely in the fall. Things have slowed down from summer, the air is crisp, the leaves are golden, and the new fall wines are being released. It’s the perfect time for a visit, and there’s no better tour guide than a local winemaker. You can explore the Valley like a winemaker this season with the Wander Walla Walla Valley Wine insider’s guide. This guide gives you eight different daily itineraries from eight different Walla Walla winemakers. The concept here is for these guys and gals to put together their perfect day in Walla Walla from tasting at their favorite wineries to dining, shopping, and exploring. We had so much fun following the “Old School Walla Walla” itinerary put together by winemaker Serge Laville and assistant winemaker Kate Raymond Derby of Spring Valley Vineyard. Here’s a look at that fun-filled (and absolutely delicious) day!
Serge and Kate say to start your day at Colville Street Patisserie, and even though my boyfriend Marcus and I arrived ten minutes before they opened, there was already a line out the door. We indulged in heavenly pastries and lattes and began our day on quite a delicious note.
Once you’ve finished your danish or croissant, head to beautiful Pioneer Park. Stroll your way there through beautiful downtown, coffee in hand. You’ll arrive to find the park just stunning in the morning this time of year. Walk the pond, explore the gazebo, and check out all the birds at the aviary (there’s a huge tortoise there right now, too!)
It’s time for your first tasting at Spring Valley Vineyard’s downtown tasting room. Spring Valley has a rich history in the Valley; the family has been farming the area since the 1880s. In 1993 they planted the first grapes at Spring Valley and the first vintage of Estate grown and bottled Spring Valley Vineyard wines were produced with the 1999 vintage. This was already one of our favorite wineries in town. We’ve visited many times (and consumed much of their wine).
Don’t forget to pick up your (complimentary) Wander Walla Walla Valley pin to let everyone know you’re wandering!
It’s lunchtime which means it’s time to visit another Walla Walla favorite, Graze. Serge recommends getting one of the paninis – and make sure to ask what the seasonal panini is! We enjoyed the “Sexy Time Panini” (chicken, bacon, caramelized onions, thyme, chile flakes, brie, mayo, provolone) and the Pepper Jack Chicken sandwich (chicken, tomato, lettuce, red onion, Tapatio, pepper jack sauce, provolone, and mayo). You can visit the location on Colville and eat your lunch on-site, or visit their drive-through location on 9th Avenue and take it to go to your next stop (more wine tasting).
Your next stop is a tasting at the lovely Woodward Canyon Winery. They’ve got a picturesque tasting room and a beautiful garden for outdoor sipping as well (we were lucky enough to be here on a truly perfect fall day). Woodward Canyon was established in 1981 and was the second winery in the Walla Walla Valley. Here they produce age-worthy cabernet sauvignons, Bordeaux-style blends, merlots, and chardonnays.
When you’ve finished up at Woodward Canyon, head next door for a tasting at L’Ecole N° 41. Located inside a historic French Schoolhouse, L’Ecole N° 41 is third-generation family-owned and was the third winery in the Walla Walla Valley. Their focus is ultra-premium, distinctive wines that reflect Washington State and the unique terroir of Walla Walla Valley vineyards.
Your next stop (and final tasting of the day) is at Northstar Winery. Enjoy the vineyards and the beautiful Blue Mountains in the background as you sip your way through the afternoon. Walla Walla has been recognized as one of the world’s most exciting and acclaimed regions for Merlot, and that’s the varietal that Northstar specializes in. They’ve very recently had cabanas installed on their beautiful property, so you can enjoy private group tastings outside with these views. They offer a beautifully curated gift shop as well.
It’s time for a break from wine tasting before dinner. Head back to downtown where the next stop is Hot Poop, Washington State’s oldest independent record store. Marcus has an extensive record collection and visiting record stores is always something we do when we are traveling to new places. It’s something he introduced me to, and I think I enjoy it just as much as he does now.
It’s dinner time and it’s at one of my very favorite restaurants – beloved Brasserie Four on Main Street. This darling french bistro instantly transports me to Paris. The cheese board is always to-die-for (but you really can’t go wrong with anything you order here). We enjoyed the Ceaser salad, the sinfully indulgent steak frites (served with a veal glace & black pepper cream sauce that will make you go weak at the knees) and (Serge’s recommendation), the bouillabaisse (another stunner).
We (somehow) managed to save a little room for dessert and ended our day at Walla Walla classic, Bright’s Candies where you’re instantly bombarded by delicious smells when you enter. Established in 1934, Brights specializes in producing fine chocolates and confections by hand (which you can see them concocting by day through the window). They’ve also got an ice cream scoop shop inside, which is what we chose to share, on a delicious house-made sprinkle waffle cone.
Thanks for following along on our delicious and fun-filled day in Walla Walla and thanks to Serge and Kate from Spring Valley for putting this all-star lineup together for us to enjoy. You can download this itinerary or one of the seven others put together here on the Walla Walla Valley Wine website.
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