Washington Water, Washington Wine
Designed to showcase the Yakima Valley, Washington state's oldest viticultural appellation, this easy, slightly rolling ride is a relaxed and scenic introduction to Washington's thriving wine industry. It leaves the community of Zillah and loops through vineyards and orchards to visit five wineries. Pavement ranges from good to fair (patchy and chip-sealed), with two winery access roads that are hard-packed dirt/gravel, but quite navigable.
Check out the route description.
Other Activities In and Around the Route Area
Those new to Washington state wines and winery touring will be pleasantly surprised by the Yakima Valley. The atmosphere at most tasting rooms is laid-back, but there's nothing casual about the winemaking. The superb wines of the Yakima, Columbia, and Walla Walla appellations have been compared to the finest French wines, showing both the painstaking efforts of master vintners and the excellent suitability of these areas' water and soil for viticulture. As a bonus to the tourist, tasting rooms are especially thick along the I-82 corridor. Pick up a brochure or two at any of the wineries and visit a few more within easy driving or cycling distance.
Nearby Toppenish is a fun place to spend an afternoon. The self-described"City of Murals" displays over two dozen handpainted scenes, part of an award-winning project sponsored by the Toppenish Mural Society (509-865-6516). The downtown is restored with an "Old West" theme, and includes a variety of gift and antique shops. This tourist-friendly town has a festival of some sort just about every month, including the "Mural-In-A-Day" in June, during which a new mural is added to the town's collection, painted by a cadre of artists in one day as the curious look on. Toppenish's Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 509-865-3262.
A must-see attraction in Toppenish is the Yakama Nation Cultural Center, on Highway 97 southwest of town (509-865-2800). It is easy to spot with its peaked roof imitating the shape of Native American dwellings. The museum has a well-presented collection of Yakama artifacts and provides an important historical perspective. With a restaurant, gift shop, and theater inside, the Cultural Center provides an entertaining outing for all ages.
Less well-known is the American Hop Museum, located at the corner of Satus Avenue and South B Street. Obscure? Perhaps. But, in addition to the celebrated wine grapes, Yakima Valley produces nearly three-fourths of our nation's hops. Learn more at this interesting little museum.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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