Washington State is ranked among the world’s top wine regions. Visiting a local winery and testing award-winning varietals is a great way to explore the area. The Evergreen State is home to 19 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), which are wine grape growing regions in the US. Additionally, Washington is the nation’s second largest wine producer and boasts over 400 grape growers, 1,050 wineries, and 60,000 acres of wine vineyards. While there are 19 AVAs in the state, today we’re giving you the INNSide scoop on three of our favorite regions.
Walla Walla Valley
Walla Walla Valley is located in southeastern Washington, and the AVA expands across state lines into Oregon. The region boasts over 100 wineries, more than any other in the state. In the 1850s, Italian immigrants first started to grow grapes in the valley. Today, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular varietal from this region.
Rasa Vineyards is run by the Naravane brothers, Billo and Pinto, who ditched their high-tech jobs to pursue their true passion of winemaking. Located in Walla Walla, Washington, the winery focuses on producing ultra-premium wine specific to Eastern Washington and Northeastern Oregon. Our local INNSiders recommend the Creative Impulse red on the high end and, on the lower end, their Bordeaux-style blend QED and red Rhône-style Convergence.
Founded by “rockstar winemaker” Charles Smith, House of Smith Wines has seven labels under their roof. The brands include K Vintners, Sixto, Substance, Golden West Pinot Noir, Vino CasaSmith, POPUP Sparkling, and B. Leighton. Each of these labels have delicious wines to sample, but our INNSiders especially love the K Vintner’s Royal City Syrah and Powerline Vineyard Syrah. Visit them in Walla Walla or the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. Interestingly, their tasting room in Georgetown is located at the end of the Boeing Field runway!
Valdemar Estates was founded by a fifth-generation winemaker from Rioja, Spain. Their state-of-the-art facility in Walla Walla opened in 2019 and is a must-visit destination for wine lovers in the area. Stay a while at their tasting room with incredible views and a restaurant to keep you fueled. They serve wine from both their Washington and Spanish vineyards. Try one of their Washington Syrahs or their Spanish Conde Valdemar Reserva.
Esteemed winemaker Allen Shoup created Long Shadows with the goal of elevating Washington State to world-class status. He sought to manufacture a catalog of ultra-premium wines led by worldwide leaders in wine. Today, Long Shadows produces wine in Walla Walla and also has a tasting room in Woodinville. Our INNSiders recommend the Chester-Kidder Cabernet/Syrah blend. Moreover, Julia’s Dazzle Rosé is a perfect summer sipper!
Choose the Inn at Blackberry Creek as your wine tasting home base in Walla Walla. Return to this warm, charming farmhouse each evening for a great night’s sleep, and wake up to a tasty homemade breakfast.
The Puget Sound designation is located in northwestern Washington. This AVA encompasses land from the Canadian border to Olympia in the South, including Seattle, Woodinville, and the islands. Due to the breezy coastal weather, this region is the coolest and dampest area for grape-growing in the state. Pinot Noir and Riesling are two of the most planted vineyards in this area.
Chateau Ste Michelle was the original winery in the Woodinville area. They do a fantastic tour and have a beautiful site for picnics and a summer concert series. Our INNSiders recommend starting your wine tour here, sipping on a few of their signature vintners, and picking up a wine map.
Founded in 1992, DeLille Cellars is a boutique artisan winery in Woodinville, WA. The winery has been recognized as a 5-star/outstanding producer and was the first to craft Bordeaux-style blends from Washington. Our INNSiders recommend sampling their D2 red Bordeaux-style blend and their Columbia Valley Rosé.
With a tasting room in the SoDo District of Seattle, Latta Wines allows Seattleites to taste uncommon varietals from unique vineyards across the state of Washington. All of the wine produced by Latta is produced in small batches from Washington-grown grapes. The “Latta Latta” GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) is an excellent wine to try here, according to our INNSiders.
Yakima Valley is the state’s most diverse growing area, located in the south-central part of the state. Many of Washington’s greatest Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines are born in this region. Due to the diversity of the area’s terrain and climate, many unique varieties of wine are grown here. Look for complex flavors in each wine from this area, such as green apple aromas in the Chardonnay from vineyards in colder climates.
Col Solare is the product of combined efforts between two wine industry leaders – Marchese Antinori of Tuscany and Chateau Ste. Michelle of Washington State. Today, these unique wine-making approaches combine to produce incredible wine from their estate vineyard on Red Mountain. Try their Cabernet Sauvignon, Col Solare’s signature wine.
Located in Benton City, the scenery of Terra Blanca Winery is too good to miss. Their beautiful terrace features panoramic views of Yakima Valley and their estate vineyards. This family-run winery officially opened in 2006 and is a stunning place for a wine tasting. For an inexpensive red wine, try the Arch Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon. On the pricier side, sample the Onyx red blend. Additionally, our local experts recommend their white VRM (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne) Rhône blend.
Two Mountain Winery is run by a family with four generations of Yakima Valley farming history. Using grapes grown in their very own Copeland Vineyard, Two Mountain produces quality wines using sustainable practices. In fact, the winery’s name comes from the vineyard’s views of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier. Try some of their bestsellers, such as the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc or the 2018 Merlot. The 2014 Vinho Vermelho Port is another must-try from Two Mountain!
Located in Grandview, WA, Cozy Rose Inn is a luxury bed and breakfast with beautiful grounds and classic decor. Use this B&B as your anchor for exploring Yakima Valley wine country. Consider adding on a massage to make your stay extra relaxing!