Wine Tasting-Discover Washington's Yakima Valley

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Vineyard with Mt.jpgThe best way to sample a variety of wine is to order a flight. The best way to soak up a balanced blend of viticultural experiences is to escape to Yakima Valley. This sunny region in Washington's wine country has warm inviting tasting rooms, premium wineries, picturesque vineyards and charming inns.

The Yakima Valley Appellation is Washington State's oldest and largest wine-growing region. 12,000 acres of grapes produce more than one-third of all Washington State wine. Yakima Valley is home to 70 wineries with 30 varietals, from Syrah to Sauvignon Blanc to Merlot to Mourvedre.
Windy point-2.jpgYakima Valley is one of the friendliest, most affordable and laid-back destinations in the state, despite its award winning wines. In fact, discovering the Valley is a little like finding a four-star restaurant where jeans and flip-flops are not just tolerated, but encouraged!

The Valley's approachability is outshined only by their not-to-be-missed diversions. With choices that include walking tours of historic downtown Yakima tasting rooms,  a leisurely drive from vineyard to vineyard in and around Wapato and Zillah, a stroll through urbane tasting rooms in Prosser or an overnight stay in a romantic wine-country inn, it's hard to decide which to do first!

If deciding on a tasting room tour, downtown Yakima offers a historic district tasting room, Gilbert Cellars on North Front Street. This sophisticated tasting room serves gourmet tapas alongside terrific wines. Live music turns this Tasting Bar into the center of Yakima's nightlife. Tim's Downtown Tasting Room on East Yakima Avenue is another good choice. They represent four different wineries, offer up a cozy lounge setting, great food and live music on the weekends.  For those who love bold reds, also on East Yakima is Kana Winery, which offers award winning varietals. .

Outside downtown Yakima, above Yakima Valley in a 1900s-era farmhouse is the Tasting Room Yakima at Wilridge Vineyard, a cooperative tasting room serving wines from Harlequin Wine Cellars, Naches Heights Vineyard and Wilridge Winery. Bring a picnic lunch or order a salumi plate and enjoy peaceful views with premium wines.  In the Rattlesnake Hills that stretch from Wapato to Zillah are numerous vineyards where you can sample wines. Winemakers or family member are of your host! Pick half a dozen vineyards, pack a picnic and spend a leisurely day.

Vineyards in this fertile region include family-owned Wineglass Cellars, Bonair Winery and Claar Cellars,  Hyatt Vineyards, and Portteus Vineyards & Winery, recognized by Wine Enthusiast magazine as one of America's great producers of Cabernet Sauvignon. Silver Lake Winery hosts popular summer barbecues on its spacious "viniferanda."

yakimaValley-largeBoxad.jpegProsser offers a different wine-tasting experience.  More than 25 contemporary tasting rooms allow you to enjoy a whirlwind wine tour in just a few hours. Every varietal under the sun is produced and poured in Prosser! Renowned names like Hogue Cellars, Kestrel Vintners, Thurston Wolfe Winery, Apex Cellars and Snoqualmie Vineyards, are all in Prosser. Millbrandt Vineyards and Willow Crest Winery, serve food, and Desert Wind Winery offers luxurious overnight accommodations. 

Every day is a good day to visit Yakima Valley, with year round events to enhance the visit. Spring Barrel Tasting in April, provides the opportunity to sample wine straight from barrels.

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2 Comments

we will be there in fall 2010. we will be in seattle without a car. how can we get to you?

What is an approximate cost of a cab to go from the Red Lion to some wineries in Rattlesnake Hills and back? Suggestion for other transportation if we didn't want to drive?

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