With summer behind us, the cooler air of fall and new wine releases currently available, we think it's time you visit Walla Walla.
With more than 140 wineries, great restaurants and cafes, amazing shopping, and an exclusive art scene - Walla Walla seems to have it all. And to celebrate, we bring you the women behind the wine - Walla Walla edition.
Dama Wines owner and winemaker Mary Derby used to be an opera singer before getting her hands in the vineyards. As a woman winemaker and winery owner, she finds the Walla Walla wine scene supportive and creative. Stop by the refurbished Dama wineries for an artful and playful tasting experience and don’t miss her newly released bottles that include Go for the CowGirl Blanc and the 2016 Grenache.
Mary’s favorite local places include a visit to the Colville Street Patisserie for a dry cappuccino and gougere, an art walk at the Whitman College and a vintage hunt at the Tra Vigne on Main Street. Mary says that she looks at her wines as her voice and she hopes to connect with her audience the same way she used to when she was a classical singer.
Three Rivers Winery winemaker Holly Turner invites you for a tasting of the winery’s current selections overlooking Mill Creek and the vineyards while playing giant Jenga or cornhole. The wines available include the 2017 Three Rivers Riesling and 2014 Three Rivers Svelte Bordeaux, both from Columbia Valley. With work experience from Oregon to Mendoza, she knows a good glass of wine and recommends the Green Lantern Tavern, a cool hunt for a beer and a snack with her personal favorites being nachos and fried pickles.
Ashley Trout, owner and winemaker of Vital Wines and Brook & Bull Cellars has been producing wine since 2014. Recently named to Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Tastemakers under 40, she been working in Walla Walla and South America since the '90s. Visit the tasting room that is open daily for walk-in tastings and make an appointment for private 1-on-1 tasting experiences. The 2017 Brook & Bull Cellars Rosé is sold out but you can try interestingly named bottles like the The Few and Far Between. Ashley recommends Walla Walla Roastery for a cappuccino, the Walla Walla Bread Company for a fresh loaf and the Sexy Time Panini at Graze, a Drive-Thru on Ninth Ave.
Ali Mayfield is the Head Winemaker at The Walls Vineyards. Ali loves being outside and working hard, so making wine at home was in the beginning a hobby before going to school. She finds Walla Walla to be a great community, not only for wine but also for culture, music and the arts. The Walls winery gets its names from Walla Walla’s most notorious landmark, the 1886 state prison known locally as the Walls, which was just down the street from where the winery’s first wines were produced. For a taste of the recent releases, visit the tasting room during opening hours or by appointment for the premium flight. Try all the Concrete Mama varieties to better understand how the “Walls” were made. Also recommended are the new releases of the Ramparts, the Gaspard and the Lip Stinger.
Brooke Delmas Robertson is the Director of Viticulture at this family winery. With studies and experience gained from Australia to Napa Valley, Brooke is genuinely curious and feels that Walla Walla has potential for very good wines and opportunity for new and young winemakers. The Delmas winery does not have a tasting room but you can make an appointment before visiting and get a tour of the beautiful SJR Vineyard in the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. Their Syrah wines are popular and sell out fast so make sure you join the allocation waiting list.
Nina Buty was studying geology at Whitman before she got her hands into wine. From the early days of the winery in 2000, her winemaking approach and philosophy have not changed: It's been about making largely vineyard designated wines that are multi-variety blends with lower alcohol, elegant aromatics and more refinement. At the winery, try the new September Columbia Valley releases, and if you visit around Halloween, don’t miss the one of a kind bottles of the Beast line, only available through the winery.