Great Wines Cross State Lines

Auto Draft 14

“Grind ‘til ya shine. In all honesty, hard work and good ethic go a long way. Ask questions, listen and be a good person. Follow this itinerary and uncover the gems of the Walla Walla Valley.”


If you’re wondering why we say “Great wines cross state lines,” this itinerary will take you onto the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley to show you what we’re up in The Rocks. But first, we begin like all mornings should: with pickleball in Walla Walla’s oldest park.

8:00 AM: Start the day at Pioneer Park for some Pickleball! This is Walla Walla’s oldest park, established in 1902. In addition to the lively pickleball courts, there is a free outdoor aviary, a rose garden, large shade trees (some of the oldest documented trees in Washington State), flower gardens and ponds.

9:00 AM: Next up is the Walla Walla Roastery. Ease into the day at Walla Walla’s micro roastery, located in the Airport Wine District, they have the best coffees, pastries and people. Try the empanadas, any flavor, you can’t go wrong! With great views of the Blue Mountains and rotating art local art exhibits, it is a great way to start the day.

10:00 AM: For the first wine tasting of the day, travel a few blocks to Five Star Cellars. Owners Matt & Traci Huse are at the helm, and Matt along with assistant winemaker Cameron Rushton are producing some spectacular wines. Since Five Star Cellars’ inception in 2000, the family has been committed to high-quality, boutique wines made with fruit sourced from the Walla Walla Valley AVA. This family’s wine will not disappoint. Reservations are required.

12:30 PM: Next on the list, come visit us at Rôtie Cellars. This is your first stop south of the state line. Rôtie Cellars is located in the heart of The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater which is the only nested AVA in the Walla Walla Valley. As you turn onto Sunnyside Road, keep your eyes on the ground and take in the unique soil series – you’ll immediately see why it’s called The Rocks! The ground is covered with basalt stones that were formed by tumbling in an ancient river that rushed down from the Blue Mountains and ended where the town of Milton-Freewater is today. This almost unbelievable terroir produces some of the most distinctive wines in the world.

At Rôtie Cellars we focus on creating traditional Rhône-style blends because those grape varieties shine in this growing region. Our wines are balanced, finesse-driven and mouth-coating. The Rocks Estate is stunning and not to be missed. Reservations are recommended.

1:30 PM: For lunch, we’re hitting a Southside favorite that is truly off the beaten path, The Waterhole Tavern in Umapine, Oregon. It’s a cozy local gem with wonderful, elevated bar food and incredible specials. Reservations not required.

3:00 PM: After fueling up, cross back into Washington State and taste at Balboa Winery in the Southside Wine District. They are a small boutique winery sourcing 95% of their grapes from their estate vineyards located in The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. They are an incredibly close-knit group of folks producing great wines. Reservations are recommended.

4:30 PM: For the final tasting of the day, make your way to downtown Walla Walla and our Proper Wines & House of Bones Tasting Lounge. Sean Boyd and I are co-winemakers for House of Bones; we were inspired to start the project through our shared love of Burgundy wines, especially the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir produced there. We have long recognized the potential for Chardonnay in Washington and can’t wait to share what we have to offer in Pinot Noir. Make sure you make a reservation, space is limited, but overlooks the intersection of 1st and Main – well worth it to look out from above. Reservations are recommended.

5:00 PM: After a full day of wine tasting, I like to take a walk or a bike ride through the beautiful Whitman College campus taking in the grounds, historic buildings and sculptures. In fact there’s a self-guided Sculpture Tour that tells the story of the 29 installations on campus. Most are outdoors so you can see them any time of day. If you need a bike, visit Kathryn and Michael at Allegro Cyclery on Main St. for a rental!

6:00 PM: Time to ride or walk to Public House 124 for a pre-dinner cocktail or beer. When Matt and Jim created Public House 124, they wanted guests to feel at home, thoroughly enjoy themselves and make memories. They’ve succeeded. The craft beverage list and freshest seasonal ingredients are only half of the equation at ‘one-two-four,’ the outstanding people are the other half making it a local favorite. You can’t go wrong with an order of truffle fries for a snack too; after all, who can resist? Reservations not required.

7:00 PM: Take a stroll to dinner at Brasserie Four. This cherished Walla Walla restaurant is where you’re most likely to run into our wine industry family. ‘Brasserie’ or ‘B4’ as we call it, offers classic French bistro cuisine along with a wine wall of local and imported wines. The bouillabaisse is a forever favorite, and the daily specials never disappoint. Local coffee to finish and be sure to take in the rotating local art adorning the walls. If the weather is nice, you can sit on the patio for fantastic downtown people-watching. Reservations are recommended.

Wander with Kevin Masterman • Recipes for Success 2