If you’re considering a wine tasting trip to the Walla Walla Valley wine region, you can find all the information you need to plan right here. We’ve been wine tasting in Walla Walla for many years and have visited nearly all of the wineries in Walla Walla.
A wine-tasting trip to Walla Walla is both rewarding and educational for wine lovers. It’s a premiere wine growing region contained wholly within the larger Columbia Valley AVA, and some really great and high-quality wines are being produced there.
The Walla Walla Valley is one of the top producing vinicultural areas in the state of Washington. It extends into the northeastern part of Oregon and encompasses 1186 hectares of planted vines and over 120 wineries. There’s now even a sub-appellation called the Rocks District in Milton-Freewater, which is located on the Oregon side of the valley.
You’ll want to spend at least two days in the Walla Walla wine region, to get a good taste of the grapes and the terroir of this region. There are dozens of tasting rooms and wineries to visit. Some are close together, and some are spread across the region.
We’ve included 39 total wineries in our list. I know that sounds overwhelming, but there are just so many favorites. Don’t worry though, we’ve narrowed it down even further in each of the areas by including an asterisk* next to the ones you absolutely can’t miss.
» While you are in the area you should check out these 9 Great Wineries to Visit in Tri-Cities, Washington.
So Many Walla Walla Wineries, So Little Time
If you’re a wine lover, and you haven’t heard of this area, take note. Not only is there an abundance of amazing wine in Walla Walla, it’s a quaint small town that exudes charm. There are so many wineries in Walla Walla that the region is split into five different areas.
- Oregon side
Each of these separate areas holds more wine tasting possibilities than you could do in a whole week’s worth of tasting. We’re talking more than 120 wineries in total. Each area has 10-20 wineries you can visit.
Since this is obviously too many wineries to get to in a weekend, you’re going to have to pick and choose. We recommend choosing one or two areas of town and focusing your attention there. You could also jump from area to area looking for specific varietals you like, but the distance in between will be greater.
However you choose to do it, you’ll surely be overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve created a list of our favorites, to help you decide. In each section, look for the * to indicate which wineries you really shouldn’t miss.
How to Do Wine Tasting in Walla Walla
Before we get into the best wineries to visit, we want to give you a bit of a primer on the area. Walla Walla is a small city, but there’s a lot of ground to cover.
You will need a car to get around to the more distant wineries. If you don’t want to drive, you can go on a guided tour (either group or private), or call the local taxi service and try to arrange rides. If you don’t want to do either of those, then I suggest sticking mostly with the downtown wineries. If you stay nearby (I highly recommend staying at the Marcus Whitman Hotel), you’ll be able to walk to many downtown Walla Walla wine tasting rooms.
More tasting rooms are now requiring reservations, with a few exceptions. It’s generally wise to take a look at the winery’s website a few days before you wish to visit to book a slot. Tasting is often done at a table or lounge area with table service. You can still walk in during the week at most tasting rooms.
Some of Washington’s most sought-after cult wines come from the Westside Wineries. Back in the 1980s, three popular wineries started it all for Walla Walla. These wineries are Leonetti Cellars, Woodward Canyon and L’Ecole No. 41. Today, these wineries still have some of the area’s best wines.
The westside stretches quite a ways out of town on Highway 12. If you’re going to make the trek out there, or you’re headed to or from Tri-Cities, you’ll want to stop at a few of the wineries out that way. Most of these wineries are open 10am-5pm every day except major holidays.
Here are the wineries you should visit on the westside.
NOTE: Asterisk next to the wineries you should prioritize
- *Woodward Canyon – Open since 1981, producing premium, age-worthy, award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay.
- *L’Ecole No. 41 – Located in an old school house, L’Ecole produces some of the regions best wines from prestigious vineyards.
- Waterbrook Winery – With more than eighty 90+ scores and 100 Best Buy wines, Waterbrook has some of our favorite every day wines and a lovely tasting room.
- Couger Crest – Award-winning wines from some of the best vineyards in Walla Walla.
- *Long Shadows Vintners – A conglomeration of seven of the world’s most acclaimed winemakers from around the world who have come together to produce ultra-premium wine in Washington.
- Three Rivers Winery – Award wining ultra-premium wines in a beautiful setting.
Woodward Canyon is the furthest out of town. We suggest starting there and working your way back into town. It’s a 15-minute drive to Woodward Canyon, and 30 miles round trip.
Most of the Eastside wineries are located near the airport in WWII-era military buildings that have been converted to warehouse space. The airport wineries now number in the dozens, with even a brewery and a distillery thrown in.
Aside from the individual wineries, you’ll also want to visit the Wine Incubator. An innovative way of helping fledgling wineries get started, the Incubator acts as a launching point for new wineries to get their feet on the ground, until they reach the 6-year mark. The wineries are always changing in this location, as they grow, so you’ll find something new each time.
In this area, it feels more industrial and warehousey. It’s not the perfect wine country tastings with vines everywhere. Keep that in mind. You’re not going here for the beautiful countryside experience. There are a few breweries nearby, especially Burwood Brewing, with great beer gardens. We also really like Walla Walla Roastery coffee shop in this area.
Here are the wineries you should visit on the eastside.
NOTE: Asterisk next to the wineries you should prioritize
- *Dunham Cellars – Great selection of wines that are palate pleasing for everyone.
- *aMaurice – Beautiful location at the base of the Blue Mountains, the wine is established and very good.
- Walla Walla Vintners – The historic Walla Walla Vintners offers wine tastings from their beautiful vineyard estate, right next door to aMaurice.
- College Cellars – College Cellars is a teaching winery located at the Center for Enology and Viticulture on the campus of Walla Walla Community College. The wine produced there is fantastic and it’s always good to support the students. The tasting room is closed the first part of the week.
- K Vintners – Opened by Charles Smith in 2001, the wine style featured here is small-lot, single-vineyard varietals.
- Tranche – Beautiful grounds and building plus fantastic wine
- * Wine Incubator – The five incubator wineries in the Walla Walla Regional Airport wine district are always changing, so you’ll likely find something new here each time.
I love the downtown area for wine tasting. Not only can you walk from tasting room to tasting room very easily, the downtown streets are so cute and there’s restaurants and shopping mixed in.
Most people stay at a hotel downtown when they visit Walla Walla. There are a number of good hotels, the best of which is The Marcus Whitman Hotel, located right in the middle of town. There’s a remodeled hotel call The Finch that’s a good choice too. If your main pursuit is wine tasting, these are the best places to stay.
Here are the tasting rooms you should visit downtown.
NOTE: Asterisk next to the wineries you should prioritize
Marcus Whitman Tasting Rooms
Just below the Marcus Whitman hotel is a handful of tasting rooms that are worth a visit.
- Lodmell Cellars – some of Walla Walla’s finest Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Syrah and Cab Franc
- Locati Cellars – Italian style wines
- Heritage by L’Ecole – the Heritage collection of the L’Ecole brand, which is located in a schoolhouse in the Westside winery area
- Mansion Creek Cellars – a boutique winery with Spanish wines
North 2nd Ave Tasting Rooms
Across the street from the hotel on N. 2nd Ave is another stretch of winery tasting rooms you should visit:
- *Spring Valley Vineyards – the family behind Spring Valley has been farming this land since the 1800s. 100% estate-grown collection of wines from their storied Spring Valley Vineyards.
- * Maison Bleue (20 N. 2nd Ave) – Founded in 2007, Maison Bleue focuses primarily on Rhône varietals such as Syrah, Grenache and Viognier from The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater.
- Cotes de Ciel (18 N. 2nd Ave) – A family vineyard that makes some of their own wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Mourvédre, Cunoise, Viognier, and Roussanne
East Main Tasting Rooms
While you could spend all of your tasting time just on that one street, you don’t want to miss out on the wineries along E. Main Street.
- *Otis Kenyon – Bordeaux and Rhone varietal wines from their estate and other Walla Walla Valley vineyards.
- *Mark Ryan (26 E. Main St Ste 1) – great single varietals from sought-after vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley, and Columbia Valley.
- Browne Family Vineyards (31 E. Main St) – high-end Bordeaux reds and full-bodied whites
- * Henry Earl Estate Wines (25 E. Main St) – beautiful wine tasting lounge with food pairings
- Plumb Cellars (39 E. Main St) – Great selection of wines poured for tastings or by the glass, plus a nice outdoor patio and you can get wine slushies here!
Where to Eat in Downtown Walla Walla
Another thing to note about Downtown is that this is where you’ll find pretty much the only food options in the tasting areas. Sometimes a food truck or two will show up in the other areas, but the majority of the restaurants are downtown.
We love to go to Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen for lunch in the middle of our tasting spree for a couple of their delicious tapas. They don’t open until 2pm on the weekends, but it’s well worth the wait.
Other great options for lunch or dinner are Brasserie Four, Graze and TMac’s. My sister would want me to tell you about Bacon & Eggs too, so check that out for breakfast or lunch as well. She loves it.
For breakfast, you can’t go wrong grabbing some pastries at Walla Walla Bread Company. If you’re staying downtown, all of these places are walking distance from the wineries.
As you’re headed out of town toward the Oregon border, you’ll come upon the Southside Wineries. This is my favorite area in Walla Walla for wineries. It’s a bit more of a countryside feeling and the vast and gorgeous tasting rooms are set among the vineyards.
At the southside wineries, the wine production happens on-site, as opposed to the downtown winery tasting rooms, so it feels more like an authentic winery experience.
Our favorites in this area are too many to name. Just about anywhere you stop for wine tasting is going to have great wines. If I had to pick only seven (which is the max you can taste through in a day if you’re sharing a glass), I would recommend any of the following southside wineries.
NOTE: Asterisk next to the wineries you should prioritize
- *Northstar (1736 J B George Rd) – World-class merlot. Absolutely must visit!
- *Pepperbridge (1704 J B George Rd) – Elegent, highly prestigious wine.
- *Balboa (4169 Peppers Bridge Rd) – Great tasting experience with a lounge area and beautiful setting. Delicious Malbec and Merlot.
- Saviah (1979 J B George Rd) – I’m a huge fan of their Jack series.
- *Sleight of Hand Cellars (1959 J B George Rd) – Exceptional wines and great label art.
- Valdamar Estates (3808 Rolling Hills Lane) – Gorgeous new facility with comfortable indoor and outdoor lounge seating. Pouring wines from their Rioja and Walla Walla estates. Tapas available too!
- Amavi Cellars (3796 Peppers Bridge Rd) – I love their Syrah. The tasting is small, but wildly good, and the building is stunning
- Caprio Cellars (1603 Whiteley Rd) – Gorgeous facility with outdoor Adirondack chairs and firepits
Northstar has the best Merlot around. Their Merlots are consistently top rated (over 90+) from Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate. We like to taste the Walla Walla Valley and the Columbia Valley Merlots side by side to truly see the uniqueness of the Walla Walla Valley grapes. At Northstar, you can also participate in a hands-on blending where you’ll make your own blend to take home.
Caprio Cellars is one of my favorite wineries right now in Walla Walla. It has an incredible outdoor area with a great view of the rolling hills. They have a really nice outdoor area on three sides of the winery, each with a different vibe that you can choose from. The wine tasting is complementary, which is very rare these days.
They are open Wednesday-Sunday by appointment and host tastings at 11:00, 12:30, 2:00 & 3:30. Tastings come paired with a chef-made food pairing that are fantastic.
There aren’t a lot of wineries on the Oregon side of the border, but now that The Rocks AVA has started gaining notoriety, there are more than ever. Some of the Oregon wineries are located just across the border from the Southside Wineries, and you may not even know you’re actually in Oregon. Here are the wineries to visit in Oregon.
If you venture a little farther past Basel Cellars into Milton-Freewater, you’ll find Zerba Cellars located along the highway. Watermill Winery and Blue Mountain Cider Company are in the town center. And Sevel Hills and Rotie Cellars are just a bit further into the countryside.
- * Rotie Cellars (84328 Trumbull Ln) – Brand new, gorgeous tasting room with one of the best vineyard views
- Castillo de Feliciana (85728 Telephone Pole Rd) – Spanish style wines
- Zerba Cellars (85530 HWY 11) – 15 different red varieties across three estate vineyards
- Watermill Winery (235 E Broadway, Milton-Freewater) – small volume producer of premier wines from estate fruit from four different appellations
- Seven Hill Estate Vineyards
- Blue Mountain Cider Company – Not a winery, but still a must-visit. Owned by the same family as Watermill Winery. Their cider is fantastic.
The abundance of Walla Walla wineries is astounding. I guarantee you won’t run out of great places to taste. We go back at least once or twice a year and rarely taste at the same places twice (except our favorites, of course!). If you’re into wine, even a little bit, you’ll love the Walla Walla wineries. Give it a try.
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.
41 thoughts on “39 Walla Walla Wineries You Must Visit”
What a great breakdown of the area. Despite spending years working with wine I’m a bad wine-tour person. This was really helpful. And Milton-Freewater? Really? I feel like I’ve only stopped there to grab something at the grocery store on the way from from the Rodeo. Good to know…
Rob, I know it’s sounds crazy. I never thought Milton-Freewater would be anything but a blip on the map. Now look at it!
I have to admit first I’m not a drinker, so excuse my wowness when I say I didn’t realize Washington had all these wineries! I live in CA, so of course you know that is all I hear about. I am always on the lookout for some cool new wines to gift to people – I will check to see if some of these are at our local wine shop!
I’m sure a lot of people don’t realize how many wineries there are now in Washington. It’s a not-too-distant runner up to California now.
We live not too far away in Yakima, and while we have visited Walla Walla, had no idea there were so many wineries!
We love driving down from Seattle through Yakima and Prosser. There are so many great wineries along the way. You have all the hops in Yakima!
My palate still cannot tolerate wine, by 30 i thought i would like it but i wish i did!
That’s sad, Tiana! I’m sad for you. Maybe we could get your a new palate. A palate transplant. 🙂
I’m not going to lie, you definitely got me with the looney toons comment. The very first thing I thought of when I saw Walla Walla was Daffy Duck… Clearly there’s much more to this lovely place than fowl traveling salesmen.
Isn’t that great?! I’ve always loved that reference. Walla Walla was also referenced on Wheel of Fortune once.
Ahhhhh! So cool! I didn’t know Walla Walla was also home to ACME! Before I even got into the wineries I was already sold. Being a wine enthusiast myself, I’m familiar with the area. Northstar does indeed produce one of the most delicious Merlot’s in the area, good idea to compare them to Columbia Valley. I was not aware you could craft your own blends at the winery though! Given the number of wineries, I’ll definitely need to plan a week long trip to the area. I refuse to just do a few if I’m traveling all the way to the Pacific Northwest!
If you’re going for a longer time, I would suggest driving up through Tri-Cities, Prosser, Zillah and Yakima too. There are some great wineries the entire way up! You could easily spend a whole week touring wineries.
I never even knew there were wineries in the area, let alone the names! We’ve sample several wineries in South Africa, and I thought I knew what a winery looked like, but these are so different, and cute! I love the idea of the wine incubator, such a nice idea to help the newbies on their way. And so kind of you to do all this ‘research 🙂
We also tasted at wineries in South Africa and I have to say I prefer that experience over most of the wine tasting in the States. The estates we visited in South Africa were so amazing and hospitality was their top priority.
I’ll be there this May. So looking forward to the trip!! Perfect timing-saving this post.
Awesome! You’re going to love it. Let us know if you need any more recommendations.
what a great post! until this moment I always thought Washinghton area is all about busy working people 😉 just kidding ofc..
Although I am avoiding alcohol heavily and drink the vine occasionally only, now I really feel like getting myself a glass of white wine 🙂 Luckily, I have the Xmas markets right across the street 🙂 Greetings from clod Czech Republic!
I love wineries. I live down the road from Martinborough in NZ and love to do a tasting!
Anita, we did some wine tasting on the North Island a few years ago and loved the experience. I’d like to try other areas in NZ too!
I didn’t know this was a wine region, it’s great to learn about it! I like wine, but growing up in Italy I confess I was a wine snob for a very long time and wouldn’t really give a chance to anything non European ? Now I still love Italian wine but always visit wine regions when abroad and found some great wines! Walla walla sounds a great stop: between the wine and the looney toons connection, sounds fun for my kids too!
We get that way a little with Washington wine too. We have to sometimes force ourselves to branch out. We’re going to Italy in March to explore some of the wineries there!
The looney toons reference definitely made me laugh! I never knew there were so many wineries in that area. I absolutely love wine so the idea of touring around visiting different wineries is high up on my ideal things to do list!
Everyone loves Daffy Duck!
Who knew Washington would have winearies he? Reminded me a bit of Mendoza in Argentina.
Oh, I LOVE Mendoza. I could definitely live there and never grow old of the wine options.
Trying local wineries is one of the best ways to explore a place (at least according to me) and your guide of Walla Walla loos very tempting. Will think about it once I’m around! 🙂
We love to stop by wineries whenever we find one exactly for that reason. It’s just another aspect of a place to explore!
Cult wines are not something I’ve come across before, but the boutique feel of the vineyards you’ve mentioned sounds fab. I have to admit I’m someone who chooses their wine based on label design alone! A marketer’s dream! Walla Walla sounds like a great region to whet your appetite for wine, thanks for the virtual tour.
Yes, a marketer’s dream! There are some pretty cool labels out there.
This looks like an amazing wine destination. And I love the connection to Looney Tunes – I wonder if anyone has thought about doing an animation inspired wine label?
That’s actually a really great idea! I haven’t seen any. It’s strangely a little-known factoid, even in Walla Walla.
I’ve spent a lot of time exploring California’s wine country and it would be great to get up to Washington and see the difference of what they are doing up there. Thanks for the tips.
You’re right, I haven’t heard of Walla Walla Wineries – most likely because I am not well versed in the area 🙂 But it all does sound right up my alley and something like I would just love to experience. I love that you visited wineries in the winter time too, judging by the photos 🙂 I love doing that here in the Niagara region. So cozy!!
We tend to go there in winter most often because my parents live there and we’re visiting for the holidays. 🙂
I’ve never heard of Walla Walla, but now I want to visit! I can’t believe how many wineries are in the area–they all look fantastic! Fun to see a brewery in the mix as well 🙂 Sweet Valley Winery looks adorable–I love the style of the shop!
Sweet Valley is a great winery. You’d like the downtown area, if that’s your style of shop. It’s packed with tasting rooms!
Somehow I didn’t think of Washtington and Oregon as great wine countries. I’m heading over there next year and will definitely keep this in mind when planning!
You will be really surprised then, Antonette, when you get here! The Columbia Valley and the Willamette valley are packed with wineries and vineyards.
I love wine! Hahah … Even learned how to make one 🙂
I’m a wine lover, but I haven’t heard of this area. I already want to go to this place.
I’m sure this is a real paradise for lovers of good wine.
Walla, Walla Wineries… See you soon!!!
Thank you, dear author)
I grew up in the Walla Walla area, so I’m always happy to introduce others to it. It’s a very nice wine region.