Travel to Walla Walla this fall for an insider's peek into the Valley's best tips and tricks. Sip, see and do as the winemakers do through custom itineraries created by Walla Walla Winemakers, available every Saturday from October 14 through December 16, 2017.
Register for the weekend(s) of your choice by clicking the links below. Registrants gain access to the full itinerary and receive exclusive perks such as winemaker talks, property tours, wine club member benefits for the day or complimentary tastings included in the itinerary. Registration is free, and the itinerary is a same-day, pay-as-you-go experience.
Itinerary by Rick Small and Jordan Dunn-Small, first- and second-generation owners
Rick's roots run deep in the land that has been farmed by his family for three generations. Woodward Canyon Winery was the second winery in the Walla Walla Valley, and the Smalls were instrumental in the process of obtaining the federal approval of the Walla Walla Valley Appellation in 1984.
The Smalls continue to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the winery and vineyard. Now, daughter Jordan is part of the team, as well.
While Walla Walla has changed a lot since 1984, the influence of the Smalls on winemaking in this region has been a consistent feature. Discovering where two generations of industry leaders taste, wander and snack when they get the chance to explore their hometown, is sure to be a treat.
Corey represents the fourth-generation of his family in agriculture. But it wasn't always clear he was going to follow in his family's footsteps. A successful sales and marketing career with Fortune 50 medical firms, led to a lot of entertaining clients, which led to a lot of wine drinking. He then learned about Washington wine, fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and moved his family to Walla Walla in 2003 to start the winery.
"Being part of Dusted Valley allows me to return to my entrepreneurial farming roots. I grew up with my hands in the dirt and feel a connection to who I am when bringing our vineyards to the bottle," explains Corery Braunel. "My mother and father laugh when they hear me say, 'hands in the dirt...' I hated weeding in the ginseng gardens and used to cry, 'I wasn't born to weed!'"
Find out what drew Corey to Walla Walla, and more importantly what keeps him here year after year, by spending the day following in his footsteps.
Itinerary by J.J. and Kelly Menozzi, winemakers and owners
Fall in love with the Walla Walla Valley through the eyes and wines of some true high-fliers. Former U.S. Air Force pilots J.J. & Kelly Menozzi spent 23 years serving our country, but during a stint in nearby Idaho they discovered and fell in love with Walla Walla. They searched for, found and then waited five years for their dream vineyard in the Mill Creek area to be available. The day they have planned for you will include a taste of their values and love of the area, from a walk or run through a lakeside park, to helping the next generation of winemakers get their start.
What does a day look like to a winemaker at an iconic Walla Walla Valley winery? Full of wine, naps, pickleball, and cocktails.
Tyler Tennyson, former Seattleite and UW alum, has created the ultimate day to link you to the friends and places where he hangs out when he’s not making wine.
His choices are linked to relationships he developed starting his career, to the wineries where industry will go and “hang out” (we’re not telling which ones, but you’ll figure it out as you go along). Just say Tyler sent you.
Itinerary by Marty Clubb, owner and managing winemaker
When Marty Clubb developed his day for you, we had no idea that one of our pioneer winemakers would include six trivia facts but we are not surprised that he gave his favorite taqueria stop. As one of Washington State’s pioneering and most celebrated winemakers, Marty’s connections to Walla Walla and to its winemaking community go deep.
Not many can walk in his footsteps but he’s inviting you to be a L’Ecole wine club member for a day, encouraging you to call ahead to see if his friend Norm McKibben is around for a tour and stories (and if you do hear anything, be sure to tell us).
Itinerary by Debra and Devin Stinger, winemakers and owners
Thinking about coming in a private plane? Devin and Debra Stinger at Adamant Cellars have a day highlighting some truly unique experiences and places to go. Staying and starting out in the Airport District, this itinerary is perfect for those who want to fly in via Alaska Air or private plane and explore a different side of Walla Walla.
From a cool aeronautically-designed place to stay, to one of our eminent coffee spots, to the Airport District wineries, the Stingers send you off later in the day for a bit of antiquing. Head into Main Street for lunch, then see where Devin recommends you finish your day. Hint: It’s on the Southside with soaring views.
Jerry is responsible for keeping the winery and winemaking sailing in the right direction. He and Trey Busch, co-owner and winemaker, share duties of sales and marking, traveling around the world to share Sleight of Hand with the people.
Like Trey, Jerry's downtime is spent honing his world class Air Guitar skills or exploring Walla Walla with his wife and two amazing winery dogs. You can expect a rock and roll theme to follow you through the day as you follow an itinerary that takes you from soil to bottle and back again, with a soundtrack to match. Winemaking is art and science, and you’ll get to experience both in your adventure.
Anthropologist-turned-winemaker Jason Fox takes you around Walla Walla with an eye to authenticity and a list of his favorite menu items. Jason’s day brings you into the tasting rooms of his mentors and former peers at the esteemed Walla Walla Valley Community College’s Enology and Viticulture Program (you’ll find alums and current students all over during the day).
The food choices are some of the office staff’s favorites too. Sexy Time Panini carry out with a glass of Syrah for lunch? Bowl of mussels with a glass of Viognier at Brass 4? You may need a couple of days here.
Itinerary by Brandon Moss, partner and co-winemaker
Call this day “Bustling Brandon.” Not a day for the lazy and uncaffeinated, Gramercy Cellars' Brandon Moss recommends a couple of favorite coffee stops and then sends you visiting wineries all over the Valley, with specific suggestions for wines to focus on. This day could be two or three days if you let the tasting room staff (and maybe the winemaking staff) really talk about the variety of wines and styles in this itinerary.
By the way, this itinerary features two restaurants where you will definitely find winemaking staff – one that
spotlights a six-time James Beard-award-nominated
chef and one where winemaking students, locals, neighbors and Whitman College students hangout for beers and burgers. You’ll figure out which is which.
Itinerary by Casey McClellan, founder and winemaker
Combine the eye of an artist, the pragmatism of a farmer and the curiosity of a scientist with the outlook of a traveler and you’ll have a sense of the day the famed winemaker Casey McClellan has created. It’s a sensitive walk through town that pulls together his childhood in Walla Walla with his life as one of the Valley’s most well-respected winemakers.
A little antiquing, time for wandering past some local treasures and recommendations for winery visits complete an itinerary that may take you a couple of days. When you stop by Seven Hills be sure to sample the Bordeaux blends.
For a guy who has devoted heart and soul to The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, Walla Walla Valley’s newest sub-AVA, Steve Robertson’s itinerary unites the land with the person and the wine. This is an itinerary that will introduce you to areas for hiking, biking, walking and exploring in diverse parts of the Valley. It could easily form the backbone of a multiple day visit to the Valley, too.
From small, boutique wineries in the Southside of the Valley to some under-the-radar drive-ins (with stellar food), the places and people will show you a down-to-earth, fascinating look at wines of the Walla Walla Valley…with a side of fries.
Tertulia Cellars, located a few miles south of downtown Walla Walla, is home to winemaker Ryan Raber’s Whistling Hills Vineyard (ask about their other vineyards too). Tertulia Cellars is the home of the Walla Walla Valley Pétanque Club (a game a bit like boules or bocce) and can be played with a glass of wine in one hand.
Ryan has the “inside” recommendation on how to get the best cocktail at the Marcus Whitman Vineyard Lounge, where to find the best chicken burrito, and an idea for where to bring the kids when you come back.
“We get asked by out-of-town friends and guests that stop into our tasting room where they should go tasting next or what restaurant they should check out,” said Rick Small, first-generation owner of Woodward Canyon Winery. “Everyone seems to want to do what the locals do, and we love to get a new up-and-coming winery on their radar or tell them about where to get a great cocktail in town when they’re done with wine for the day. We hope that visitors to the Walla Walla Valley enjoy some of our favorite places in town, and continue to come back and visit us, year-round.”