FALL BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN WALLA WALLA
From harvest and crush, to a busy calendar of special events, fall is the time to visit the heart of Washington wine country
(WALLA WALLA, Wash.)- Fall is a particularly special time in Walla Walla’s wine country, as summer’s bounty makes way for the grape harvest and crush. For many, autumn’s arrival also signals the time to make an annual pilgrimage to wine country, further energizing the Walla Walla Valley with an unmistakable buzz.
In addition to the vibrant colors that paint the vineyards, orchards, and surrounding hills, Walla Walla offers many reasons to visit. Fall is a time when winemakers immerse themselves in their craft, beginning with the grape harvest, continuing through crush and fermentation, and ending when the last drop of wine is safely in the barrel. It’s a season when the eclectic, farm-to-table culinary scene of Walla Walla overflows with the bounty of harvest, celebrating the local farmers and ranchers who have made this region the “Breadbasket of the Pacific Northwest.”
“Time and time again I hear from fall visitors that they wished they had another day or two to further explore Walla Walla, and that they cannot wait to return next year,” said Ron Williams, Executive Director of Visit Walla Walla. “Not only is there the optimism that comes from a harvest, but an energy that is felt throughout the valley. Visitors get caught up in our excitement, and become part of our community. And whether visiting one of Walla Walla’s more than 120 wineries, or enjoying a dish in downtown Walla Walla, the freshness of the season is on full display. The real surprise frequently comes when people discover the wealth of local art, our rich history, and our beautiful and diverse natural setting.”
Although each year is slightly different because of weather and growing conditions, Walla Walla’s grape harvest typically begins in September and runs through Fall Release Weekend in early November, ushering in weeks of festivities. Here are some of the highlights:
First Friday Art Tour (Sept. 1, Oct. 6): A celebration of local art and wine, Walla Walla invites all to explore its locally owned galleries, wineries, restaurants and businesses, each showcasing a variety of works by local artists.
Walla Walla Food Truck Night (Sept. 4, Oct. 2): Held the first Monday of each month at The Incubators near the Walla Walla Airport, Food Truck Night offers imaginative culinary creations, locally crafted beer, spirits, wine, and a festive atmosphere.
Downtown Farmers Market (Saturdays through October): Locals, visitors, and even the chefs of Walla Walla’s acclaimed restaurants peruse the Farmers Market each Saturday for local, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables.
Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend (Sept. 8-9): A two-day, family-friendly celebration of classic cars, Wheelin’ Walla Walla features a classic car show, music, and so much more.
Walla Walla Symphony Series (Oct. 3, Nov. 7, Dec. 1, 2): Enjoy the beautiful music of the longest continually operating symphony orchestra west of the Mississippi River.
Walla Walla Balloon Stampede (Oct. 18-22): Watch hot-air balloons grace the clear, blue Walla Walla sky each morning and see for yourself why the Balloon Stampede has become internationally acclaimed.
Dia de Los Muertos (Oct. 21-22): A true “Day of the Dead” Latin American holiday, this unique celebration includes a procession and free concert, as well as a community festival for the entire family.
Fall Release Weekend (Nov. 3-5): Winemakers across the valley swing open their doors all weekend long, inviting guests to celebrate the end of harvest with tastings of new releases, special pours, winemaker dinners, live music, and more.
Holiday Barrel Tasting (Dec. 1-3): Enjoy the spirit of the season, Walla Walla style. Wineries entice visitors with tastings of future releases straight from the barrel and offer food, art, music and more.
With three daily flights from Seattle via Alaska Airlines, and roughly four hours by car from Seattle, Portland, and Boise, getting here is a breeze. For more information on planning a trip to Walla Walla, go to visitwallawalla.com.
About Walla Walla:
As the heart of Washington wine country, Walla Walla is home to more than 120 wineries, a nationally recognized culinary scene, access to an abundance of outdoor recreation, and an arts & entertainment scene that rivals cities many times its size. This community of just over 30,000 residents is known for many things, including its friendliness and hospitality, the quality of its wine, and of course the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion. An easy and scenic four-hour drive from Seattle, Portland, or Boise, Walla Walla can also be accessed via Alaska Airlines daily non-stop flights from Seattle. For more information and to begin planning a trip to Walla Walla, go to www.visitwallawalla.com.