How to Plan a Walla Walla Wine Girls’ Getaway

two women enjoy wine at caprio cellars
Wine tasting on the patio at Caprio Cellars in Walla Walla
The beautiful patio at Caprio Cellars in Walla Walla offers stunning views of the region — a perfect place to sample and savor a glass of vino.

It’s not convenient from anywhere. A 4.5-hour drive from Seattle, Washington, and a 3.5-hour drive from Portland, Oregon — Walla Walla isn’t a pop-over destination. (Unless, of course, you’re catching a Seattle to Walla Walla charter flight.) But the renowned Walla Walla wineries are well worth the trek.

Nestled in the southeastern corner of Washington State, Walla Walla wine country spans nearly 3,000 acres. It stretches into the northeasternmost tip of Oregon. And, it offers the ultimate girls’ weekend destination for those who want to unwind, relax, and sample some of the best wine in Washington.

12 Walla Walla Wineries Not to Miss

The heart of Washington wine production, Walla Walla has no shortage of wineries. Listed, in no particular order, are some of the best Walla Walla vintners not to miss.

1. L’Ecole No. 41 

L’Ecole No. 41  Historic Schoolhouse
L’Ecole No. 41’s Historic Schoolhouse offers a picturesque setting for exploring Walla Walla wine country.

A third-generation family-owned winery, L’Ecole No. 41 was founded in 1983. It was the third winery established in the Walla Walla Valley and has become one of the most prominent wine producers in the region. 

In fact, it’s won countless awards from: Winer & Spirits Magazines, Decanter World Wine, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Winer Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, Wine Press Northwest, and more. 

L’Ecole No. 41 sources grapes from five different vineyards, including their own Estate Ferguson Vineyard and Estate Seven Hills Vineyard. Wine tastings can be booked at their historic 1915 Schoolhouse. It is located in Frenchtown, a small community just west of Walla Walla’s downtown core. 

While the school closed in 1974, founders Baker and Jean Ferguson used the French word for “school” to name their winery. Today, the tasting room is situated within one of the two classrooms — where remnants of the original schoolhouse remain, including original chalkboards, light fixtures, fir floors, and moldings. In the winery’s cellar, you will also find a children’s water fountain and a restored mural, hand-painted by the pupils. 

In downtown Walla Walla, you’ll also find the L’Ecole Heritage Wine Bar within the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel. And soon to be opened is L’Ecole Woodinville — a tasting room in Woodinville’s Wine Walk Row.

2. Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard 

The second oldest winery in Walla Walla Valley, Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small founded Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard in 1981. But the Smalls were no strangers to Walla Walla’s fertile soil. Rick’s family had been farming in the Walla Walla Valley for five generations on his mother’s side and three generations on his father’s side.

In fact, the winery was named after the very ground his family cultivated and continues to cultivate today — Woodward Canyon. Located just 13 miles west of Walla Walla’s downtown core on Highway 12, the 41-acre vineyard rests within the family’s 320-acre farmstead.

It arguably produces the best cabs in the region, with their Old Vines cabernet Sauvignon being the first Washington wine to make Wine Spectator’s Top 10 list. Additionally, their Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon has earned 46 90+ point scores since the 1992 vintage was released. 

The tasting room is housed within a restored 1870s farmhouse featuring an enchanting garden and picnic area. Pets are welcome on the porch and backyard garden.

3. Pepper Bridge Winery

Pepper Bridge Winery - Jean-François
Director of Winemaking, Jean-François Pellet, was born and raised in Switzerland. Here he is seen walking the field.

While Pepper Bridge Winery doesn’t rank among one of the oldest Walla Walla wineries (it was founded in 1988), it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. The three-level winery is built into the crest of a hillside overlooking the vineyard and Blue Mountains in the distance. (A second tasting room can be found in Woodinville, just outside of Seattle’s downtown core.)

Sustainable farming sets this winery apart, as it is a certified Sustainable and Vegan winery. Among the innovative techniques it employs is Washington State’s first state-of-the-art, gravity-flow facility – including subterranean caves. The approach allows the winery to treat the grapes gently and prevents shearing the seeds, which introduces bitter tannins. The result is elegant textures and profiles that accentuate the natural flavor of the grapes.

4. Leonetti Cellar & TOIL Oregon

Founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins, Leonetti Cellar is Walla Walla Valley’s oldest commercial winery. However, the Figgins roots date back to the family’s original farmstead established in 1906 by Gary’s grandparents, Francesco and Rosa Leonetti. 

Francesco immigrated from Serra Pedace, a small town close to Calabria in southern Italy. Rumor has it, Francesco experimented with bubbling fermentation on the farm’s dirt floor basement. However, it was Gary (Francesco’s great-grandson) who put the Leonetti name on the map. 

Gary planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon and Reisling cuttings on the family farm and started producing a small batch of wine. On December 14, 1982, Walla Walla Valley was officially recognized as a premier wine-growing region when they were named the best in the nation. The prestigious designation was a result of a blind tasting in California by Winestate magazine’s Wine and Spirits Buiding Guide — one of the nation’s most prestigious wine industry publications at the time.

Today, Leonetti Cellar is operated by Gary and Nancy’s children, Chris and Amy. Building upon their ancestors’ roots, the sibling duo continues to produce sought-after wines. They have now expanded into three additional wine ventures (Figgins Walla Walla Valley, Leonetti Cellar, and TOIL Oregon) all under the Figgins Family Wine Estates. While Figgins Walla Walla Valley and Leonetti Cellar do not have tasting rooms, you can sample the TOIL Oregon pours at their Walla Walla tasting room.

5. Foundry Vineyards

Foundry Vineyards Pouring Wine. Image by Ilana Freddye
Image by Ilana Freddye
Foundry Vineyards Food. Image by Ilana Freddye
Image by Ilana Freddye

Wine knows no borders, spanning artworks throughout the centuries in all corners of the world. The confluence of the two mediums is undeniable. It’s a fact that Mark and Patty Anderson fully embody at their Walla Walla winery — Foundry Vineyards. This wine and art destination flew relatively under the radar until it was spotlighted by New York Times writer Alex V. Cipolle in his October 20, 2021 article ‘In Washington, a Beloved Birthplace for artistic Giants.’ The article details the type of pieces you’ll find being created and on display:

…all sorts of artistic behemoths rise: a 36-foot-high Venus de Milo by Jim Dine; a squad of liberated caryatids by Wangechi Mutu; the two-ton head of a forest spirit by Yoshitomo Nara; the playful pumpkins of Yayoi Kusama.

Furthermore, it’s referred to as, “a chocolate factory for artists where pretty much anything you can think of can be made.”

Tastings are offered at their Walla Walla tasting room, where you are welcome to bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy in the sculpture garden. Alternatively, you can visit their Seattle tasting room, located south of Pioneer Square.  

6. Armstrong Family Winery

First-generation winemakers, the Armstrongs are Chicago transplants who followed their passion for wine to the West Coast. They have tasting rooms in both downtown Walla Walla and Woodinville.

7. Spring Valley Vineyards

The Spring Valley Vineyards tasting room is located in Walla Walla’s downtown corridor. The vineyard itself is located in Spring Valley, 2.5 hours northeast of Walla Walla. The first grapes were planted at the vineyard in 1993 and the first vintage was produced in 1999, making this one of the newest vineyards in the region. Yet don’t let their age fool you, these wines offer rich and complex flavor profiles. 

10. K Vinters

K Vinters Winery and Tasting Room

Love Syrah? Then you won’t want to skip K Vinters. It is part of the Charles Smith family of iconic wine brands (aka House of Smith). A former rock band manager, Smith is one of just four Washington winemakers to receive a perfect 100-point score (awarded for the K Vinters 2006 Royal City Syrah). Even more impressive, he released his first Walla Walla Syrah vintage in just 2001! The K Vinters Winery & Tasting Room is located on historic farmland originally homesteaded in 1853. Tucked at the base of the Blue Mountains, it features an adjacent farmhouse built in 1872. Farmstead tastings are available on Friday and Saturday. Alternatively, the Jet City tasting room in Seattle and the downtown Walla Walla tasting room are open Wednesday through Sunday.

9. Eternal Wines

With a focus on single-vineyard varietals, Eternal Wines utilizes only grapes from premium vineyards. In addition to making great wine, they know how to host one heck of a party. Every Thursday night they host their Thursday Night Lights Concert and Food Truck. This fun event features live music paired with a different food truck and your chance to sample Eternal Wines on-site.  

10. Caprio Cellars

Caprio Cellars in Walla Walla
The expansive patio space at Caprio Cellars includes an enchanting fire pit, room to spread out, and expansive views.

Embodying a pay-it-forward mentality, Caprio Cellars not only gives 10% of its net profits to charity, it provides complimentary food and wine to tasting guests. What’s more, the tasting room has sweeping views of Walla Walla Valley, a spacious outdoor space — and delicious wines. It’s a dynamic five-fold approach that’s quickly made this relatively new winery a success. 

11. Dunham Cellars

A family-owned winery, Dunham Cellars was founded in 1995. Over the years, they’ve distinguished themselves by their beloved Three Legged Red Wine — named after one of the winery’s dogs. The winery’s tasting room is open daily and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. 

12. Walla Walla Vinters

One of Walla Walla’s most dependable wineries for great pours and an exquisite tasting room experience, Walla Walla Vinters was founded in 1995. Through it changed ownership in 2017, it continues to produce luscious Bordeaux- and Rhône-style reds, plus exquisite rosés.

Walla Walla Vinters
Wine Valley Golf Club

Walla Walla Getaway

Sipping, Eating & Chipping Through Walla Walla

By Rick Turner | Photos by Sara Satterlee

Someone much less clever once said of New York, that it was a city “so nice, they named it twice.” But those of us who spend our time between the nether regions of Parallels 46 and 47 understand that there is really only one city that accurately fits that description.

Walla Walla (a town so nice … you know the rest) is tucked away in the southeast corner of Washington, where the state meets with Idaho and Oregon to serve up a hardcore Northwest vibe with a little something for everyone ….continue reading

Savor the Best Walla Walla Restaurants

While you may be coming to Walla Walla for the wine, don’t overlook the food. Food and wine pairings here are a specialty, as is farm-to-table menus and inventive chefs. The following are just a sampling of our favorite restaurants in Walla Walla.

The Restaurant at Eritage Resort

Eritage Restaurant and Bar (1)

The restaurant at Eritage Resort, a luxe lodging set in the rolling hills north of town, serves a seasonal menu with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and has an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill as its centerpiece. The grilled meats and top-notch vegetable preparations are standouts.

Passatempo Taverna

Hose-made pasta, spicy pepperoni pizzas, and a house-made gelato make this Italian spot a gem! 

Brasserie Four

As though plucked from a corner in France, this charming Walla Walla Bistro invites you to relax and indulge in a casual sense of elegance. Menu standbys range from Escargot and vichyssoise to bouillabaisse and simply scrumptious steak frites.


Mike Endsley TMACS Salad
Photo by Mike Endsley
Mike Endsley TMACS Restaurant Interior
Photo by Mike Endsley
Myra TMACS crème brûlée
Photo by Myra

Trendy, with a little bit of va va voom, TMACS Instagram-worthy interior and fun patio make this and incredible girl’s night or date night destination. Cocktails are inventive. The chef-driven menu features locally sourced ingredients. And the service is attentive. 

AK’s Mercado

Walla Walla culinary legend, Adrean Bopp earned a name for himself slinging exceptionally prepared street food from a gas station. He’s taken his counter service to a whole new level at AK’S Mercado, where the bustling restaurant and patio have become a local hangout. Chef Bopp’s focus remains heavily on street fare – with tacos dominating the menu. But you’ll also find delightful Southern-infused options like po’boys, smoked brisket, and Carolina-style pulled pork. 

Bacon and Eggs

Don’t forget to treat yourself to the most important meal of the day. Bacon and Eggs does breakfast right with menu that’s both restorative and intriguing. Here, Chilaquiles come with a spicy red sauce, a classic egg and avocado sandwich is loaded with pickled jalapenos, and a tofu scramble is loaded with veggies. 

Find a Few Fun Things to Do in Walla Walla (Beyond Wine Tastings)

The Whitman College Outdoor Sculpture Walk

The Whitman College campus is home to 21 magnificent sculptures, some of which were commissioned by graduated classes or created by Whitman College alumni. During a self-guided tour, you can see as many (or as few) as you would like. 

Kaleidoscope Studios | Ride | Movement | Yoga

If no vacation is complete without a bit of a heart-pounding workout, this one is for you. Walla Walla’s Kaleidoscope Studios offers thrilling indoor cycle classes, hot pilates, gentle yoga and more!

Cameo Heights Mansion

Treat your body to a relaxing spa treatment. Cameo Heights Mansion offers a full range of massages and facials.

Hit a Round at Wine Valley Golf Club

Wine Valley Golf Club. Photo by Sara Satterlee
Photo by Sara Satterlee

Combining a love for wine and golf, the Wine Valley Golf Club offers spacious fairways (a forgiving blessing for those who might not golf often) and toast-worthy views. Be sure to take a moment at Hole #5, where you’ll have the best vantage point of the Blue Mountains. 

Walla Walla Wine History

While it’s believed that vines were first cultivated in Walla Walla in the 1850s, the region’s modern-day wine industry began in the 1970s. It started in the garage of Rick Small, founder of Woodward Canyon winery. 

Rick and childhood friend Gary Figgins, founder of Leonetti Cellars, began conducting ecological experiments (studying wine and winemaking). By February of 1984, the region was officially recognized by the federal government when the Walla Walla Valley was designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA).

What’s the Walla Walla Weather Like?

On average, Walla Walla gets 188 sunny days per year, with the peak of summer sunshine coming in July and August (as one would expect). Summer temps hit a high or roughly 90 degrees, meaning visitors aren’t normally exposed to excruciating heat indexes. And while the region gets an average of 9 inches of snow with a low of 29 degrees in January, the gentle valley slopes offer an elegant backdrop year-round.

Plus, Walla Walla averages just 19 inches of rain per year, compared to 37 average inches in Seattle. So if you want to escape the drizzle and you love wine, this is a prime destination. 

Seattle to Walla Walla Flights

Getting to Walla Walla isn’t a cakewalk. In fact, it can be quite the 4.5-hour road trip. Alternative travel options include:

Walla Walla Charter Flight

Your one-hour flight departing from either Boeing Field or Paine Field includes:

  • East onsite parking
  • Simple, personalized check-in
  • An intimate waiting room experience

Nonstop Alaska Air Flight

This roughly one-hour flight requires Passengers to: 

  • Find transportation to the airport or park at an airport parking lot and shuttle to check-in. 
  • Navigate the check-in terminal
  • Pass through airport security
  • Wait at the gate within Seattle Tacoma International Airport

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