The Up 'n' Comer: Walla Walla, Washington
Why Go: The Willamette Valley in Oregon has long been thought of as the up-and-comer in the American wine industry — so long, in fact, that it can hardly be called an up-and-comer anymore. If you’re looking for start-up wine country, Walla Walla is the place to be. An intimate little college town, Walla Walla is far less overwhelming than many wine destinations, but it can easily compete with some of the best America has to offer. Combine your love of wine and cars (without drinking and driving) by heading out the first weekend in September for Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend, when you can stroll around historic downtown’s dozens of tasting rooms while checking out classic cars.
Top Wine: Ignore Paul Giamatti. Merlot is making a comeback. Specifically, L’Ecole No. 41 Winery 2008 Estate Merlot.
Don’t Miss: Charles Smith’s tasting room downtown encompasses everything that makes Walla Walla more fun than your average wine destination. Both modern and rustic, Charles Smith also places a high priority on entertainment; Blue & BBQ Thursdays combine live blues, good barbecue, and great wine.