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Walla Walla Valley

Walla Walla Valley is the most important AVA in Washington. It’s also a spectacular place to visit, full of wineries making top quality wines, great restaurants, and wonderful activities beyond sipping grape juice. It has the highest concentration of wineries in the state.

Note: While the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater is a sub-AVA of Walla Walla, because it’s located on the Oregon side of the border we will be discussing it in the Oregon section of the course.

Flying over the Walla Walla Valley shows the massive scale of winter wheat farming, against the tiny bit of viticulture in the area. This is due to irrigation rights, and the fact that you need water rights to plant vineyards.

This is not Napa Valley! A surprising number of wineries are simply metal buildings constructed for efficiency. You’re not going to find Tuscan facades, fountains, and sculpted properties here. Walla Walla is about working hard, making great wine, and leaving all pretense at the door.

This rattles some consumers when visiting the area for the first time. If you’re looking for opulence, this isn’t your place. Until recently the only decent hotel in town was a $160 a night Hilton. All of this is changing as the area gentrifies a bit, but for the most part you’ll be running into views such as this as you approach wineries.


Walla Walla Valley Wine: A great all-purpose resource for learning more, especially ahead of a visit. The website breaks down the many wine communities in and around the city. If you’ve not yet visited this region, this is a great way to get your head around how the city and the wineries are oriented.

Winesearcher: Walla Walla Valley AVA

Washington Wine Commission: Walla Walla Valley AVA

Vinmaps: Walla Walla Map (great to look at in order to understand how few vineyards are actually planted here!)

The online wine show “V is for Vino” just came out with a Walla Walla episode! Check it out!