This is one of those posts that took forever to write. There is so much yet to be discovered in Walla Walla and it is the perfect example of a trip that is what this blog is all about – luxury at great value, seeking out the extraordinary in the ordinary, family, community, and sharing the little luxuries in life – good food, wine and friends, and a great place to lay your head at night. What happens when you get five women together for wine tasting in wine country? A relaxing girls getaway weekend filled with great friends and family, conversation, great food, exceptional wine and luxury accommodations. But don’t take my word for it, let the pictures of this luxury wine country vacation in Walla Walla do the talking. Have you wanted to visit Walla Walla, but didn’t know where to start? Here’s a Walla Walla trip and a quick video that tells the story of our wine country weekend experience:
The Walla Walla Itinerary: Curated by WashingtonWine9.com owner Carrie Simon, our Walla Walla trip was a breeze – our hotel, wine tour, dinner reservations, private wine tastings were all pre-arranged – all we had to do was show up. Carrie also connected us to Imbibe Wine Tours, which is hands-down a fantastic and unique wine tour, with its knowledgeable tour guide, hip car and one of the best wine tours we’ve ever experienced.
Walla Walla Luxury Hotel: This was our first stay at the Inn at Abeja. We’ve always heard great things about this luxury Inn, and it lives up to its reputation. The service is impeccable, the attention to detail at the property is incredible and the food is out-of-this-world good. The Inn at Abeja is a must visit for Walla Walla luxury that will make you feel a million miles away.
The Walla Walla Wine Tour: Imbibe Wine Tours. We can not say enough great things about this wine tour and the sleek ride in a vintage Checker Aerobus. Affectionately dubbed “Stretch” this Checker “Limo” was originally owned by the Rockefeller family, who transported tourists to and from the Grand Teton Lodge Company. It has a long history in the Galano family and has found new life as an entrepreneurial endeavor for owner Sam Galano. We not only had a great wine tour, we also made great friends and can’t wait to return to spend more time with them exploring Walla Walla wine country.
Best Dinner Reservations in Walla Walla: One impressive surprise: culinary artists and food lovers have been flocking to Walla Walla and it shows. The food in Walla Walla is top-notch and gets better with every visit. Three must try restaurants in Walla Walla, all located in downtown Walla Walla:
- Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen – outstanding, organic menu with impeccable flavor and attention to detail, knowledgeable staff, great service.
- Brasserie Four – delicious french food, outstanding shellfish and favorable dishes, dessert – super accommodating for us tired wine-tasters who wanted to take our food to go.
- Olive Marketplace & Cafe by T Maccarone’s – a must stop for a wine country picnic, featuring a deli filled with gourmet cheeses, meats, pastries, coffee and a big menu for dining in – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Walla Walla Wineries and Wines: We hit seven wineries that day (I know, crazy huh?). We thank Imbibe for keeping us hydrated, well fed and caffeinated. And our ability to be able to still stand up afterwards? A testament to true wine”tasting” versus “drinking” everything we were poured. (Don’t get us wrong – we sampled a lot of great wine along the way!)
Every Walla Walla winery has it’s own story and interesting people who are living their passion of producing great wines meant to be shared. Some of our favorite Walla Walla Wineries we visited this weekend were recommended to us by Carrie at WashingtonWine9 and Imbibe Wine Tours and have their own great tales to tell. I encourage you to visit their tasting rooms, meet the winemakers and you will get a sense for the realness, sense of character and community and amazing people of Walla Walla.
- Abeja Winery – by appointment only, you must be guests of the Inn at Abeja for a private wine tasting and to purchase wine at the winery. Try the 2008 Abeja House Red (blend) for luxe wine at great value.
- Buty Winery – we LOVE their Sauvignon Blanc (and others did too, because they sold out). Try their BEAST rose for an alternative for summer sipping at great value, $19.
- Gifford-Hirlinger – this winery was one we’d not heard of and a great surprise. Family owned, we got to meet owner Melissa Berghan, a mom of two who I felt an immediate connection with, as she managed the tasting room and her two children running around with grace while we all piled in on a Saturday morning. Try: 2008 Estate Tempranillo, $26.
- Fjellene Cellars – Meeting winemaker Matt was a great treat and we LOVED his wines. A world traveler and mountain guide, he and his wife settled in the Walla Walla valley and are making exceptional wines. Try: Fjellene 2010 Rose – 100% Syrah grapes, $20.
- Amavi Cellars – Amavi was our stop for lunch and tasting room manager, Patty Wondra was a gracious host. Amavi is a small, family owned winery that produces exceptional wine at great value. They also have a tasting room in Woodinville. Try Amavi 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $29.
- Waters Winery - This is a beautiful stop for relaxing in a rocking chair in the sun. The wines are exceptional and I love the family feel of this winery. Try: Waters Winery 2009 Capella, $40.
- Dusted Valley – this is one of my all-time favorite Walla Walla wines and my husband and I were lucky enough to visit them the year they got started and were doing tastings from their basement. Dusted Valley also has a tasting room in Woodinville, but make sure you go check them out in Walla Walla where it all began. Try: 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $30.
- Sleight of Hand Cellars – this place is hip and cool and they have a vintage LP collection and if you ask nicely, they will let you pick out a record to play some tunes during your tasting. With names like “Enchantress Chardonnay,” and “Funkadelic Syrah,” you know this will be one tasting to remember. Try: 2008 Levitation Syrah, $40.
- Trio Vintners – great wines, wine tasting right in downtown Walla Walla. New owner – go in and check it out!
Again, a BIG thank you to Carrie Simon with WashingtonWine9 for creating an extraordinary wine weekend of us in Walla Walla. Do you have a question on a wine country trip to Walla Walla, or a favorite winery you want to recommend in Walla Walla? Share it with us here in the comments, or head over to HipTravelMama’s Facebook page and leave us a comment. Cheers!