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Wine Travels - Washington Wines

Lorraine Chachere

Wine Travels - Washington Wines

Lorraine Chachere

Sep 2012

Wine trips are some of my favorite travel experiences! The ability to savor a wine at the place of its origin, combined with meeting the passionate people responsible for its creation, makes for a very meaningful experience to understand all of the elements essential in wine production. Private tours of the wineries allow for a more intimate travel experience and allows for the tastings of reserved or soon to-be-released vintages.

Another benefit of visiting wineries is the discovery of wines that are only sold at wineries and perhaps are not distributed closer to home. Wine trips can offer some of the best mementos of travels, as bottles of wine can be shipped or brought home to be appreciated at a later time with family and friends. Or not. Sometimes that special bottle is best enjoyed by the buyer—the one who can fondly recall the experience!

While I have been fortunate to have thoroughly explored California, Oregon, and New Zealand wineries and vineyards, I do not have to travel too far to enjoy stellar wines. The state of Washington is actually the second largest wine growing region in the United States. 

The Columbia Gorge AVA (American Viticultural Area) proudly proclaims the region as “a world of wine in 40 miles,” which is nearly accurate as the region has numerous varietals such as Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot, Albariño, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Sangiovese—thanks to the varied climate and terroir.

The Walla Walla Valley is a vital AVA renowned for their Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, yet also redefining the area with its Syrah and Sémillon. This AVA region also straddles parts of Washington and Oregon and is home to some of the Northwest’s most famous wineries, many of which have received top scores from notable wine critics. While these wineries offer a assortment of wines, they generally specialize in the rich dark wines such as Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines from this region rival and have been compared to the great Napa Valley wines in California and the rich heritage wines of Bordeaux.

This fall, set out for yourself into Washington’s wine country aboard the luxury 22-passenger yacht Safari Quest. Taste extraordinary regional wines and gourmet cuisine, enjoy private winery tours by expert guides, and explore on an invigorating jet boat ride or take to the waters in a kayak--all within a spectacular setting of golden coulees, high desert, and steep gorges.

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A few cabins are still available the October 27 and November 3, 2012 sailings:

Columbia River – Culinary & Wine Discovery
Oct 27 and Nov 3, 2012