Wine Enthusiast names Walla Walla a top wine travel destination

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What does Walla Walla have in common with The Aegean Islands of Greece or Mendoza, Argentina?

They’re all listed among the world’s Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations for 2014 in “Wine Enthusiast” magazine’s annual travel issue on stands this week.

“The historic, tree-lined farming community of Walla Walla, until recently best known for its sweet onions, has quickly become the epicenter of Washington wine tourism. It’s an easy 50-minute flight from Seattle, or a relaxing four-hour drive through Eastern Washington,” the intro by Paul Gregutt describes.

“Wheat fields, row crops, rolling hills and a thriving, tourist-friendly downtown await, but the Walla Walla appellation boasts more than 120 wineries and dozens of well-tended vineyards. The AVA spills over into Oregon, where many of the best vineyards can be found. They cover the north-facing slopes of the Blue Mountain foothills, and open out below onto the ancient riverbed known as the Rocks.”

The piece pays homage to Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, Whitehouse-Crawford, Brasserie Four, Bacon & Eggs, Maple Counter Café, the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center, Inn at Abeja, Vine & Roses, Walla Walla Balloon Stampede, Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend, Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days, Andrae’s Kitchen, Tacos la Monarca, Fast Eddy’s, Ice-Burg, Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman Catie McIntyre Walker, the Walla Walla Symphony, Fort Walla Walla Museum, Kirkman House Museum, wine weekends and the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.

The piece on wine wouldn’t be complete without mention of wineries. Those included: Corliss, Doubleback, Forgeron Cellars, K Vintners, Rotie, Seven Hills, Sinclair Estate, Spring Valley, Tero, Buty, Dunham Cellars, Five Star Cellars, Tamarack Cellars, Abeja, Walla Walla Vintners, áMaurice, Amavi, Dusted Valley Vintners, Northstar Cellars, Pepper Bridge Winery, Beresan, Rasa, Rulo, Saviah Cellars, Sleight of Hand, Va Piano, Bergevin Lane Vineyards, Canoe Ridge, Foundry Vineyards, Gramercy Cellars, L’Ecole No 41, Long Shadow Vintners, Reininger Cellars, Leonetti Cellars, Figgins, Waterbrook and Woodward Canyon.

Each year “Wine Enthusiast” showcases editor’s favorite wine locations around the globe. The listing demonstrates the uniqueness of the community, said Tourism Walla Walla Executive Director Ron Peck.

“Not all great wine regions happen to be great travel destinations, just like all great travel destinations are not also great wine regions, but Walla Walla is extremely fortunate to be both,” Peck said in a prepared statement. “The ability to experience the terroir, taste the wines in their natural environment, meet the winemakers and hear their stories, and enjoy all of the culinary, cultural, recreational and other attributes is truly a unique combination.”

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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