Choosing a traditional wine region to visit in Washington poses challenges. On the dry side of the Cascades in eastern Washington, where most of the vineyards are rooted, tourist facilities are limited. Seattle, on the other hand, is a visitor's paradise, bustling with activities and boasting a formidable selection of good restaurants. A unique collection of some three dozen wineries have popped up in and around Washington's largest city, which is about 200 miles from the nearest vineyard producing substantial quantities of quality grapes.
A world away from the coastal sophistication of Seattle, Walla Walla is a farming and manufacturing community with the values of the American Midwest and a location—in Washington's southeast corner, hard by the Oregon border—a long way from anywhere. For years, it was known for its annual harvest of sweet onions, its euphoniously repetitive name, and little else. Now there are wineries right in town, bars and wine shops that offer stylish wines, and fine restaurants.