Featured Association Member

In this new feature, WineAmerica will be doing a spotlight every other month on one of our State and Regional Association Advisory Council members.

Spotlight on: Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance

Located near the Oregon border, Walla Walla Valley in Washington state is a resplendent agricultural hub. The rich soil and terroir of the Walla Walla Valley has fueled the abundance of premier wine grapes. Growth in the region over the last thirty years has made the Valley one of the country’s premier wine destinations.

In 1984, when the Valley was officially designated an American Viticultural Area, the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance was formed with the primary goal to market for the Valley’s wine industry and to provide information to consumers, media, and trade. At the time, there were only four wineries in the Valley – today, that number exceeds 100.

Talented winemakers flock to the Walla Walla Valley, drawn in by its ideal growing conditions. The Valley’s wines have received increasing acclaim and attention. The Wine Alliance has worked tirelessly to fuel the expansion of the industry, collaborating with Walla Walla community partners ranging from
Tourism Walla Walla, to the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation. The Wine Association, in conjunction with its partners, hosts events from Seattle to Portland to celebrate its wines.

This year, the Wine Alliance recognized the 30th anniversary of the Walla Walla Valley as an American Viticultural Area. The founders of the Valley’s ever-growing wine industry gathered for a panel discussion and reception to celebrate this milestone. “It was a lively evening, filled with stories about the history of our valley, and their predictions for a bright future,” said Heather Bradshaw, Communications and Marketing Manager of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. Winemakers in Walla Walla Valley are a close group, and the founders have mentored many new winemakers in launching successful operations. This camaraderie continues to build the region as a whole.

Grape growth in the area has historically focused on red grape varieties, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Wine makers have, “strived to continue to produce quality lesser known and produced varieties,” said Bradshaw, emphasizing the Valley’s Grenache, Malbec, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese wines as special up-and-coming varieties. The Walla Walla Valley wine industry has come a long way from a few men and women making wine out of their garages, thanks to the dedication of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance’s commitment to its regional wineries.

Visit the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance here.