Are you searching for the best Walla Walla wineries to visit? We can understand why. Washington's wine country just keeps getting better. First planted with grapevines by Western pioneers in the 1840’s, Washington’s Walla Walla Valley is today home to some of the state’s most decorated and revered producers. Bold Bordeaux varietals- Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot- thrive in wind-blown soils where once there was a glacial lake.
Four hours from Seattle or Portland, the Walla Walla Valley is home to over 120 wineries planted with nearly 3,000 acres of grapes. The name Walla Walla means ‘many waters’ and this fertile valley is a welcome oasis surrounded by Eastern Washington’s scrubby sagebrush desert. Also known for strawberries, sweet onions, and wheat, the Walla Walla Valley crosses state lines with a third of the vineyards located just across the Columbia River in Oregon. Blessed with little rain, persistent winds for cooling, and pronounced diurnal temperature shifts, wines from the Walla Walla region are well composed and carefully crafted.
L’Ecole No. 41
Located within a historic Frenchtown Schoolhouse, L’Ecole No. 41 is a third generation family enterprise and one of the best Walla Walla wineries to visit. L'Ecole is dedicated to crafting wines that reflect the unique environment and conditions of the Walla Walla Valley. A recipient of numerous industry accolades, L’Ecole No. 41 was the third winery established in the valley and today is a standout for their sustainable farming techniques.
Thirty years of winemaking experience and key relationships with respected local growers deliver wines that are expressive, classic, and memorable. Tasting occurs within a classroom of the original 1915 Frenchtown School, honoring the region’s pioneer heritage which included the planting of nurseries and vineyards by early French Canadian settlers.
Seven Hills is a top valley bottler of single vineyard Cabernet and Merlot. Their tasting room is situated within downtown Walla Walla’s historic 1904 Whitehouse-Crawford building. This used to be a woodworking mill.
A fourth-generation farmer, winemaker Casey McClellan planted the founding blocks of the estate in 1982 with his father. Today, Seven Hills collaborates with and sources grapes from around the Walla Walla Valley as well as nearby Red Mountain and Columbia Valley vineyards.
Notable characteristics of Seven Hills wine are the restrained use of oak, bright acidity, a nuanced balance of structure and grace, and pure flavors of the wine varietals. Top sellers include Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. You'll be happy you visited this top Walla Walla winery!
The barrel room and cellar facilities at Three Rivers comprise over 14,000 square feet of interior space surrounded by 16 acres of grounds. That makes this winery an ideal locale for a large group or extended visit. The winery rests on the top of a small knoll overlooking the vineyards as well as Mill Creek, Whitman Mission, and the Blue Mountains.
Established in 1999, the name comes from the three prominent waterways in Eastern Oregon: the Columbia, Snake, and Walla Walla Rivers. Winemaker Holly Turner was raised in Oregon’s wine country and maintains personal relationships with growers around Washington state. Three Rivers blends grapes from several vineyards in order to maximize quality and deliver a consistent product.
Zerba Cellars owns three vineyards on both sides of the Columbia River, taking advantage of distinct variations in soils and growing conditions. Its tasting room is located short drive across the border into Oregon.
A family-owned winery in operation since 2001, Cecil and Marilyn Zerba grew up in the Walla Walla Valley, owning a nursery before turning to wine. Big, bold, and fruity red wines are served in a quaint tasting room that resembles a cozy log cabin. Rigorous blending trials create distinctive, approachable, food-friendly wines that balance structure with creativity and make this one of the best Walla Walla wineries to taste at.
Reputable and eminently drinkable wines are readily found at Basel Cellars. This is a 96-acre estate with nearly 30 acres of vineyards under cultivation. This is a former ranch set against a backdrop of the Blue Mountains. Here you can find rich, smooth red wines with fruity flavors. These qualities characterize this winery.
Basel Cellars acquires its grapes from sources in both the Walla Walla and Columbia river valleys. The centerpiece of the property is the 14,000 square foot lodge styled guesthouse which is rentable to the public. A 9,600 square foot subterranean winery which once housed a car collection produces all wines on site. While several varietals are grown here, including Chenin Blanc and Semillion, the star of Basel Cellars is surely their Cabernet Sauvignon.
One of the earliest wineries in the valley, Woodward Canyon is a key player in Walla Walla wine. A multi-generational enterprise, the winery is conscientious with respect to all aspects of wine production. Their vineyards were planted in 1981 on what had been family wheat fields. The wine tasting is conducted within a restored 1870’s farmhouse.
In addition to 41 acres of estate vineyards, grapes are also sourced from carefully chosen growers within Washington State. Old world inspired, Woodward Canyon’s wines are cellar worthy and designed to pair with food for a full sensory experience. Winemaker Rick Small is self-taught. His wines are consistently high quality and well rated. The vineyard is proudly sustainably grown, LIVE certified, and salmon safe. All this makes Woodward Canyone one of the best Walla Walla wineries to visit.
Laying claim to the title of Walla Walla’s first commercial winery, Leonetti’s beginnings were as a family farm in 1906. The farm was transitioned to grapes in 1974. Leonetti’s first bottlings were of Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling.
Today, Leonetti wines are recognized internationally. However, their production remains limited. Second generation winemaker Chris Figgins has learned his craft hands-on and is known for a meticulous attention to detail. The wines from this top Walla Walla winery age well and the Figgins family of brands has grown to include the Toil Oregon wine label and the Lostine Cattle Company.
After becoming the youngest Master Sommelier ever at the age of 26 in 1996 and overseeing several prestigious wine programs around the country, Greg Harrington founded Gramercy Cellars. He started the winery in order to produce Rhone and Bordeaux inspired wines with a definitive Washington influence. Gramercy believes that great wines come from great vineyards. But it's not just caring for the vines during the growing season. This great Walla Walla winery makes sure the grapes are harvested exactly at the perfect ripeness.
Other key principles of the operation include small production, minimal intervention in the winemaking, and limited use of new oak. The wines produced are fruity, earthy, elegant, and pair well with food while highlighting the individual varietals and the unique quality of Washington’s wine.
Conclusion | The Best Walla Walla Wineries
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best Walla Walla wineries to visit. We know there are a lot of choices when you visit Washington's wine country. This list is just a starting point for anyone interested in exploring the best that Walla Walla has to offer. Use it as a starting point when you are building your itinerary of Walla Walla wineries to see.