As America’s third-largest producer of wine, the Washington wine map has begun to look a bit like a pin cushion. Wineries abound along the western edge of the Cascade Range, but also flourish around small population centers like Yakima, the Tri-Cities, Wenatchee and Walla Walla. Even the San Juan Islands have gotten into the swing of things, with a winery apiece on San Juan and Lopez Islands. Let your Washington Travel take you to easternmost edge of the state and you’ll find comparatively fewer wineries, but still enough in places like Pullman and Spokane to carry you all the way to the border of Idaho.
There are two ways really to approach Washington Travel and wine tasting. Either you’re looking for convenience, and proximity to other major attractions, or you’re in it for the rural Washington, burgeoning boutique winery experience. Let us be clear: it’s a win-win whichever way your tippling takes you.
Seattle visitors with a relatively full itinerary can find wineries enough in the immediate vicinity to justify several full days of wine tasting. Venture east, over the Cascade Mountains, and follow Interstate 82 south toward the Columbia Gorge for access to an ever-longer list of wineries flourishing in these parts thanks to a terroir ideally suited to grape growing. Small towns like Zillah and Prosser don’t boast much in terms of general tourist attractions, but if it’s wine your chasing, there’s a bottle with your name on it. Well-known names in wine like Columbia Crest you’ll find in an even more rural areas up alongside the Columbia River (always a wonderfully scenic detour). For a high concentration of boutique wineries though, a popular pick is Walla Walla. Though some of the local wineries like Cayuse Vineyards here have been in business more than a decade (and have a waiting list to get on the waiting list for their wine), relative upstarts like the Thirsty Pagans are also deserving of your tasting attentions. In short: Washington Travel driven by drink of the grape-sort can be an epic quest, if so desired.