I have been visiting Paso Robles with my family for at least 10 years and every visit reminds me why this growing wine region is so rewarding to visit. The region itself is diverse, with the beautiful coastal town of Cambria to the west, which offers sensational sunsets, beach walks, and a quaint downtown with plenty of restaurants, shops and wine tasting rooms. And, Hearst Castle is just up the road, so it’s easy to make a long weekend or more in the area.
When it hits wine o’clock in our household it’s usually still light out, and that means we’re pouring a crisp, vibrant white. The one we’ve been finding in our glass lately is Muscadet. It’s a somewhat mysterious wine for several reasons, which is probably why I’m partial to it.
Our timing for visiting Washington state wineries last month might have one thinking we had the inside scoop on Wine Spectator’s editorial calendar. One of the latest issues that featured the Top 100 wines also included some in-depth articles about Washington being a rising star in the wine world. We couldn’t agree more. In a two-week period, we covered close to 700 miles and visited 35 wineries and wine bars. Yes, you read it right…35. And, we were tasting wines from the 2012-2014 vintages, which have been highly rated due to favorable weather conditions in the state. I’ve already recounted our visits to Woodinville and all of the main wine regions of the Yakima AVA, so now it’s time to share highlights of our four-day visit through Walla Walla.
More than 100 wineries can be found in the Yakima Valley. That said, with only four days to explore the region, we barely made a dent. However, many of them are in close proximity to one another, making overall logistics easy, particularly with a GPS-enabled smartphone! When scheduling a trip to this area, I recommend calling in advance as many of the wineries are only open on weekends and have different seasonal schedules.
Yakima Valley, a rich agricultural epicenter, is where you can truly experience farm to bottle at its best. Boasting more than 13,000 acres of vineyards, it is a diverse AVA that offers everything from the small, local family winery to the large-production winery with national distribution, and to everything else in between.
If you are seeking a vibrant, urban wine tasting experience, then Woodinville is your place! Located about 20 miles northeast of Seattle, Woodinville is home to more than 140 wineries, wine bars and tasting rooms. Although you won’t encounter the typical vineyard experience here, many wineries in Yakima, Walla Walla, and other AVAs have tasting rooms in Woodinville, bringing the wine directly to you in a dynamic atmosphere.
Todd and I embarked on a 2-week journey through Washington state wine country today. We have an action-packed itinerary that includes stops in Woodinville, Yakima, Walla Walla, and the Tri-Cities areas.