wine country travel

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Big wine weekends are happening at both ends of the state this weekend, and travelers to any wine region are sure to be rewarded with plenty of holiday cheer, new releases, special sales, and other delights.

Walla Walla is celebrating the 13th annual Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend, with dozens of wineries opening their doors and welcoming visitors.

I will be taking part in a number of events, signing copies of my new book at Cadaretta (at the Artifex facility, Friday 3 to 5), at Dunham (Friday 5 to 7), at Walla Walla Vintners (Saturday 10 to noon) and at Woodward Canyon (Saturday 12:30 until they kick me out!). Friday night I’ll swing by Sinclair Estates tasting room downtown to listen to my buddy Pete Crawford and Mike Wagoner play some tunes, and maybe sit in on a couple. First Friday is also Artwalk day downtown, and on Saturday the Holiday Parade of Light fills the streets with songs and dancers, horses and floats, beginning at 6pm.

Some very helpful new wine touring maps have just been released; you can find them online here and here.

In Woodinville on Saturday and Sunday, the St. Nicholas Day Open House event is celebrated at dozens of wineries. Tickets are available here for $40 for one day, $50 for both days. I will be in Woodinville the following weekend, signing books on Sunday the 12th at DeLille Cellars’ Père Noël celebration – $25 admission for that food and wine fest.

For those with more ambitious, long term wine travel plans – a visit to Bordeaux – this suggestion. I’ve recently been contacted by Alexander Hall, whom I met at the Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux three years ago while visiting the region. He writes to inform me that he has a new business organizing private, tailor-made wine tours. These personalized itineraries include visits, tastings, lunches and dinners at top chateaux. Unlike many wine regions, Bordeaux can be quite difficult to navigate on your own. The marquee chateaux are open only by appointment; and the hundreds of smaller properties difficult to find and sort through. If you have just a few days, a personal guide can be invaluable.

Alex has sent me a sample itinerary, which I’ll happily pass along to anyone who requests it (send me an e-mail). I have no financial interest in any of this, but I do believe it’s a valuable service. You may also contact Alex directly ( or visit his website (

Wishing you safe and happy travels!

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