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Spring Release Weekend

Spring Release Weekend is one of the most popular wine-tasting weekends in Walla Walla, and with very good reason. As the name implies, this weekend is one where virtually all wineries “release” new vintages so you can be among the first to sample and own the latest Walla Walla wines! The excitement of the new vintages spills over into the community with just about anything you might enjoy doing – both inside and outside – available to explore. Held annually the first full weekend in May (for 2022 the event will be May 6-8), it’s a wine enthusiast’s perfect excuse to get away to Walla Walla. Here are a few highlights to add to your Spring Release Weekend plans.

Attend a winemaker dinner

One of the things that makes Walla Walla unique is the direct access you gain to the “celebrities” behind the scenes. Winemakers regularly stroll through the tasting rooms. Chefs might just visit your table to ask about your first few bites. These encounters are a happy accident in some cases – but with a winemaker dinner, you can make them a certainty. Check your favorite winery’s events pages to see what they have planned, or get on their email lists to ensure you get an invitation. 

Book a tee time at Wine Valley Golf Club

Snag an early tee time and enjoy 18 holes of golf at Wine Valley Golf Club, the No. 3 public course in Washington (and No. 34 public course in the country) according to Golfweek magazine. This course makes Walla Walla a golf destination in and of itself, and adding some outdoor activities to your Spring Release Weekend is just one more way to get the most out of your getaway. Looking for a stay & play package?  Be sure to check out this post.

Visit a newcomer

Spring Release Weekend is a great time to discover your new favorite winery. Get in on the ground floor of one of the new rising stars in the Washington wine world! Visit the Airport District “Incubator” to meet a few recent graduates from the Walla Walla Community College Enology & Viticulture program. Or head downtown, where a new tasting space seems to pop up every few months. Our contributing writer Steph Forrer recently profiled two very photo op-worthy wineries you’ll want to check out.

Visit a founding winery

A reservation at Leonetti Cellar – Walla Walla’s first commercial winery founded in 1977 – may be a tall order, but other founding wineries are more open to the public and should absolutely be part of your Spring Release Weekend plans. Don’t miss a tasting at Woodward Canyon, L’Ecole No. 41, or Pepper Bridge (to name a few).

Explore Walla Walla by bike!

Surrounded by the beautiful Blue Mountains, with plenty of gorgeous pathways and trails to explore, Walla Walla is truly a cyclist’s dream. Whether you choose to simply pedal your way around town or are looking for a more physical challenge, Walla Walla has a ride for you… and you don’t even need to bring along your bike! There are terrific rental options available at Allegro Cyclery and Bicycle Barn. Learn more about outdoor recreation in Walla Walla here.

Remember Walla Walla with more than just wine

Walla Walla wine ages beautifully in your cellar, but your memories of Spring Release Weekend can last a lot longer with a few special mementos. Luckily, an easy stroll downtown will give you ample shopping opportunities, from clothing and apparel to children’s toys and Walla Walla-branded souvenirs. Don’t miss a stop into Hot Poop, Washington’s oldest independent record store. You’ll discover vinyl, memorabilia, CDs, and stereos in what is fittingly described as “Walla Walla’s only bing bang music and stereo shop.”

Plan ahead. Spring Release Weekend is BUSY!

For the best selection and room rates, you’ll want to make your hotel reservations well in advance for the first weekend in May. Don’t miss out on getting a gorgeous room like this one at Yellowhawk Resort (see image right).

Dinner reservations in Walla Walla’s fine dining restaurants can be hard to come by as well, so planning ahead is vital if you really want that table for six at Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen on Friday night of Spring Release Weekend. One silver lining of the pandemic is that most of Walla Walla’s wineries and restaurants now offer easy online reservation systems to make booking your perfect trip a breeze. 

Of course you could spend all of Spring Release Weekend wine tasting and barely scratch the surface of the fun and fine wine that await you in Walla Walla. Be sure to bookmark our events calendar for easy reference as local hospitality partners, wineries, and event venues add their special events to the calendar. If you love Facebook and Instagram, follow us on social media to keep up on all the happenings, Spring Release Weekend or not. To be in the know about lodging partner offers and special events in Walla Walla, add your name to our email list by clicking the “Stay in Touch” icon on just about any page of our website.

We hope to welcome you for Spring Release Weekend, or mid-week, or really, any time you choose.