Wine panel III

Seattle Times wine columnist Andy Perdue tastes one of the wines at a blind tasting of inexpensive wines March 3, 2016, at J. Bookwalter Tasting Studio in Woodinville.

A little more than a year after Travel + Leisure named Walla Walla one of the 50 best places in the world to travel in 2018, the magazine has a new spread that explains why.

The February issue of the monthly magazine includes an eight-page piece titled “Tasting Wine, the Walla Walla Way.”

As with coverage from Vogue last year, the feature on Walla Walla elevates the community’s profile to a massive platform of potential visitors.

The magazine is a publication for travelers that covers the gamut of excursions from takeoff to return with must-see, eat and experience advice on everything in between.

The piece by the magazine’s Wine and Spirits Editor Ray Isle highlights nearly 20 local businesses that offer tours, accommodations, wine tasting and dining.

Moreover, it captures many of the local personalities and the community spirit that serves as the backbone for Walla Walla’s appeal.

“Walla Walla may have wine shops selling $100 bottles of cabernet, but the Demolition Derby is still the biggest draw of the year,” the piece explains.

Isle spent a day of his trip to Walla Walla touring with Visit Walla Walla and the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.

In Walla Walla, he found a sense of community through exploring the gourmet gas station food (Andrae’s Kitchen), a tidbit about how Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen owners enlisted their CrossFit group to help with their move from Alder to Main streets, and the multifaceted nature of the people behind its extraordinary service and goods. For instance, how the owner of Frog Hollow Farms, Amy Dietrich, that supplies some of the top restaurants also works as an obstetrics nurse; that Passatempo’s renowned mixologist/bartender is also an accomplished painter; and that before his shifts at Whitehouse-Crawford, NaKenge Adisa makes wine in his garage.

“Mr. Isle captured the essence of Walla Walla,” Wine Alliance Chief Operating Officer Ashley Mahan said. “It’s not just about the quality of wine, number of tasting rooms or grapes grown. Walla Walla is unique because of the people that make up the town and the passion that goes into our products — from wheat to onions to wine and weekly Farmers Market produce haul.”

She said the spread captures Walla Walla’s authenticity.

The piece recommends a three- or four-day trip to experience the top wineries and restaurants at a leisurely pace.

Specific places or services mentioned: Tesla Winery Tours, the Touring Co., Eritage Resort, the Inn at Abeja and wines at its accompanying Abeja Winery, Seven Hills Winery, Spring Valley Vineyard, Charles Smith’s Wines of Substance, Foundry Vineyards, Gramercy Cellars, Woodward Canyon Winery, Pepper Bridge Winery, Buty Winery, Long Shadows Vintners, Frog Hollow Farm, Downtown Walla Walla Farmers Market, Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, Whitehouse-Crawford, Passatempo Taverna and Andrae’s Kitchen.

“As producers, we’re focused on making quality wine from quality agriculture, and the visitors are a bonus that gives us the ability to do what we love,” Mahan said.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at or 526-8321.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, or on Twitter at

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