Are you ready to taste and tour wine country? Thankfully Washington State has over 900 wineries and is the 2nd largest producer of wines in the United States. One of the best places to get your vino on is in Yakima Valley Wine Country, which is the state’s “first federally-recognized AVA” and “contains over one third of Washington’s vineyards.” (Read more about the Yakima Valley.)
Last fall I toured five Yakima Valley Wineries that need to be on your radar.
5 Yakima Valley Wineries You Must Visit
Gilbert Cellars at The Hackett Ranch
Gilbert Cellars has a tasting room in downtown Yakima (5 N. Front St.), but I suggest making an appointment to do a tasting and tour at The Hackett Ranch where they grow their grapes. The tasting room is in a large wine barn. Outside is a picnic table area with a view of the vineyards, lavender gardens, and the 1500-foot Ahtanum Ridge.
They do need 48 hours notice, so plan ahead and make a reservation at 509.249.9049 ex. 5. Guests are welcome to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with their wines and the view. It’s important to note there is a three bottle minimum purchase per person required.
If you want to listen to live music and drink wine outside then check out their Music in the Vines Concerts Series. On these nights, they serve their wine and have food vendors, all under the Yakima sky.
What I liked: While their required minimum purchase is a little steep, for those who are serious about wines and having vineyard experience tasting on-site the way to go as it is more personalized. And, it’s a great opportunity to learn about their grapes and wines. Also, I’m a lover of outdoor summer concerts, and if I lived closer, I’d be buying a season pass.
Address: 2620 Draper Rd. Yakima, WA 98901. It’s a 20-minute drive from downtown Yakima outside of the small town of Ahtanum.
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Wilridge has a tasting room in Seattle, but I suggest cruising to the small town of Naches to visit the Tasting Room Yakima at Wilridge Vineyard. The tasting room is in a large house and offers plenty of seating chairs and couches, as well as, an outside porch. The large grassy yard overlooks 80 acres of vineyards and orchards, and there is a hiking trail to Cowiche Canyon. Visitors can bring a picnic or purchase lighter fare menu items to nibble and relax out on the lawn while they sip their wine.
Tasting Hours: Thursday through Monday 11 am to 7 pm, (Sometimes hours are extended during the summer Fridays and Saturdays), Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:30 pm to 7 pm.
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Naches Heights Vineyard
When you visit Wilridge Winery, Naches Heights Vineyard is on the same property in a small house next to the tasting room. During the warmer months, they have a great event line-up that includes Tuesday Nights at the Heights, which features activities like yoga, guided Cowiche Canyon hikes, followed by wine time, and Wine Down Wednesdays with live music, food, wine, and beer.
Tasting Hours: Thursday – Monday 11 am to 5 pm.
What I liked about both: Both of these wines can be experienced in one day if you go when they are both open. The setting, which is up on a hillside, has an excellent view of the vineyards and Yakima Valley. I like that visitors can sample wines, find one they like and sit on the porch or pair it with their own picnic lunch on a blanket in the grass. And, it’s kid and dog-friendly.
Hiking: Cowiche Canyon trail can be accessed at the wineries, and there is a hiker reward program where every 3rd hike you complete you get a free glass of wine. I
I have to admit Treveri Cellars is one of my favorite wineries as I love sparkling wines and that is their focus. Their tasting room is elegant with stone, marble and wood, and a large patio with plenty of tables with umbrellas and a green yard and views of the vineyards and snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Once a month, during the summer months, they have an additional premium tour and tasting for $50 in which guests get a behind the scenes tour with the winemakers and wrap-up the tour with a seated tasting of four premium sparkling wines.(I haven’t had a chance to go on this yet.)
What I liked: The classy atmosphere of the tasting room made it feel like an outing, add sparkling wines onto that, and you’ve got a perfect combo for date night or a girl’s getaway. And, their appetizers make for an excellent early lunch turned wine pairing. (It’s important to note that bringing your own picnic lunch is discouraged.)
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 12 pm to 5 pm, Friday and Saturday from 12 pm to 6 pm, and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm.
Address: 71 Gangl Road, Waptao, WA 98951. It’s an 11-minute drive from Yakima in the small town of Wapato.
Owen Roe Winery
Almost next door to Treveri Cellars is Owen Roe Winery, which also has a winery and tasting room in Oregon. The Washington tasting room is in the barrel cellar hall, and outside is a large grassy yard with picnic tables and views of the vineyards and mountains. If you want a more in-depth experience winery tours can be scheduled at 509.877.0454.
What I liked: During the tasting, they explained the local terrain and how different varietals grow in certain soils and create certain flavor profiles from the soils. They also offer a ride through the vineyards in the Swiss Pinzgauer where you can see the soil layers up close. They are also kid and dog-friendly.
Hours: Daily from 11 am to 5 pm
Address: 309 Gangl Rd, Wapato, WA 98951. It’s a 13-minute drive from Yakima in the small town of Wapato.