Discover recommendations for the best Walla Walla wineries including the types of reds they produce. This area was one of the first wine regions in Washington State. It is part of the Columbia Valley. It received its official designation in 1984.
The region has a long history of winemaking with Italian immigrants planting the first vines around the 1850s. This region began growing commercial grape vines around 1950.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted red wine in the region. It was first planted in 1974 by Gary Figgins who eventually opened Leonetti Cellar in the valley. Merlot and Syrah are two other widely planted reds.
There are also more than 100 Walla Walla wineries in the region today. Here are some of the most popular with award winning reds.
The first three recommendations are in extremely high demand but I had to include them in my recommendations. They are some of the best of the best of the Washington State wineries and I know you will enjoy them if you are able to get your hands on them.
My first recommendation for Walla Walla wineries is Leonetti Cellars. This winery opened in 1977 by Gary Figgins. The first commercial ones from this winery were distributed in 1978. As I mentioned above, he was the first winemaker in the region to plant Cabernet Sauvignon.
Today, Leonetti Cellars has a thriving business. It is tough to get your hands on their wines, but you will love them if you do. They continue to keep their production low in order to create high quality.
You'll find amazing Walla Walla wines from this winery including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese.
The winery is not open for public tastings at this time due to the demand. However, I'd strongly recommend trying a Leonetti Cellars reds.
Abeja is another one of the hot Walla Walla wineries. Here you'll find award winning reds including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and a House Red. This is a blend that includes mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but blended with some Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah and Petit Verdot.
This is another winery that is not open for public tastings at this time. However, those that stay in the winery villas are able to do some tasting at this winery. The Inn at Abeja has six private, luxury accommodations. Staying here is the secret to learning more about the amazing Walla Walla wines at this winery.
Even if you can't stay at the Inn, I'd highly recommend trying the Abeja wines. They are some of the best from the Walla Walla wineries.
My next recommendation for Walla Walla wineries is Cayuse Vineyards. This is another winery with award winning selections.
Christophe Baron, the founder of Cayuse, comes from a family of winemakers. In 1996, he discovered the potential in this valley. He planted his first vineyard for Cayuse in 1997 and continues to make amazing Washington State wines.
You'll find a number of types of reds at this winery. They have quite a few different Syrah wines including their Armada Vineyard Syrah, Bionic Frog Syrah and their En Cerise Vineyard Syrah. In addition, they also produce a Grenache, Tempranillo and a Cabernet Sauvignon.
They do not have public tastings, but they do offer bottles to their mailing list as futures. Since they sell most of their wines as futures, they don't have enough left over for general distribution. However, they also reserve some wines to sell to a handful of restaurants and local shops.
These next Washington wineries are also award winning wineries here. There is still some limited supply with these, but they are not as hard to find and enjoy as the three mentioned above. You can also stop by these wineries and taste some of their Walla Walla wines if you are in the area visiting.
My first recommendation is Buty Winery. This winery has a number of different reds with grapes from vineyards here and the popular Horse Heaven Hills and Columbia Valley.
Buty Winery produces amazing red blends. They have a flavorful Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend as well as a Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
They also have fun with some they call their BEAST wines. Every year, they release a BEAST wine on Halloween and some years they release an April Fools BEAST.
They will also periodically release other BEASTS that are experiments, new varietals, etc. This gives them an opportunity to play with some wines that could become new favorites.
The tasting room at Buty Winery is open almost every day from 11am to 4pm. They are closed on Sundays and they recommend calling ahead for an appointment.
Another popular one of the popular Walla Walla wineries is Pepper Bridge Winery. They make world-renown wines. They were recently named as one of the Top 100 Wineries Worldwide from Wine and Spirits Magazine.
Their reds include small production Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They also have a reserve that is a blend of the five traditional Bordeaux grapes.
Pepper Bridge Winery is open for public tastings every day from 10am to 4pm. Reservations are not required, but are recommended for parties with more than eight people.
Another one of the great Walla Walla wineries is Woodward Canyon. It's another popular winery with award winning wines. Their tasting room is open daily where they serve a number of great reds.
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