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Save the Walla Walla Wineries!

While driving to Walla Walla for the Wine Bloggers Conference, things along Highway 12 seemed a little different. We were puzzled when we didn’t see the wineries we usually drive by along the way. Curiously, our GPS kept recalculating. It turns out that Highway 12 has been widened and repositioned. As a result, wineries including Reininger Winery, Three Rivers, Cougar Crest Winery, and Skylite Cellars no longer have the drive-by traffic they used to. On top of that, we did not see any signage posted for the wineries along the new highway.

Glencorrie

Glencorrie Winery

At the Seattle Wine Awards last month, we enjoyed the award winning wines from Glencorrie being poured by one of the winery’s co-owners, Ronn Coldiron. So, while in Walla Walla last Friday we decided to visit the Glencorrie tasting room. Fortunately, another winery gave us directions explaining that in addition to the highway changing, the names of the nearby streets are as well. This makes our GPS and maps rather useless for the time being. Regardless, we make our way down the road. Uncertain as to whether we’ve made the correct turn, we come across a barrier indicating the road is closed. Then, we notice a much smaller sign stating that local businesses are open. We drive on in a state of confusion, determined to reach the tasting room. As luck would have it, we find it! Sadly, we are the first visitors in four days. To put it politely, the new highway has affected them in a detrimental way.

With the tasting room to ourselves, we enjoy a leisurely visit with Tasting Room Manager, Melanie Leathers, and Ronn Coldiron’s wife, Michelle. We taste a lineup of seven wines, all red. Most impressed with the Glencorrie 2007 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Merlot, and the 2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon we purchased bottles of each. Priced at $28.00 and $35.00 respectively, we feel these limited production wines are a great value for the quality. Both wines were award winners at the 2010 Seattle Wine Awards and received favorable QPR ratings in a recent WinePeeps post. The Washington wines are fruit forward and made to pair with food.

When I ask Michelle what her favorite dish is to pair with their wines, she hands me a recipe card. These people know the way to my heart! The recipe is for an Alsatian Onion Tart meant to be paired with the 2007 Glencorrie Stillwater Creek Merlot. I look forward to trying it. We’ll post further reviews of the wine along with our own pairings at a later date.

Meanwhile, be sure to visit Glencorrie’s tasting room as well as the others along old Highway 12. I know that some of us don’t like to ask for directions, but in this case it is well worth it!

2 Responses to “Save the Walla Walla Wineries!”

  1. krista says:

    This inconvenience will not be like this for long! the new off ramps take you right to the winery doorsteps! Once all the turn offs are completed & the new signage is posted, getting to the wineries will not be as difficult.

    this was a much NEEDED change for Walla Walla as the old highway 12 was very treacherous to drive and getting worse each year.

    As a resident, who also likes the wineries, I am so thankful for the change & it will be much safer to find & visit the wineries without the big trucks & fast cars bearing down as you are turning into the driveways.

  2. Nancy says:

    Krista, thank you for commenting. While I appreciate the intent of the long term solution, I find it very unfortunate that a short term solution wasn’t in place to help the wineries during the transition. Particularly considering that the change coincided with the arrival of 300 wine bloggers plus wine industry people for the Wine Bloggers Conference of North America in Walla Walla.

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