East of the Cascade mountains lies the sunny and parched side of the state where the days are warm and the nights are cool--near perfect conditions for creating "balanced" wines.
Though tucked away in the southeastern corner of the state, not readily accessible by major interstate, Walla Walla has nevertheless emerged from "hidden treasure" status into one of the Pacific Northwest's hottest wine destination spots. The town of Walla Walla is a charming, vibrant winemaking community and the wines made here are second to none.
The Walla Walla Valley AVA stretches over undulating hills and across the state line into Oregon. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the most planted red varietals, with Syrah gaining ground. Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese are coming along nicely, too. Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer are the big whites in the area. Walla Walla is notable geologically because it is here that water from Ice Age floods backed up at the Wallula Gap and the resulting slackwaters deposited deep beds of fine-grained silt and stone on top of ancient basaltic lava.