Wine not take some to visit Walla Walla Washington and the exquisite Alton Wines vineyard?
What do you do when a portion of your gorgeous vineyard is deemed unfarmable? You make lemonade out of lemons—or should we say wine out of grapes—and create a beautifully delicious winery destination. Alton Wines is a quaint vineyard that’s unlike anything you’ve seen. Inhabiting a wavelike landform just outside Walla Walla, Washington, the new winery nestles itself into an existing cove that is formed by the surrounding vineyards.
Start your visit with a guided tour due south, on axis with the arbor leading to the tasting room and barrel storage buildings. As you meander through, you’ll have a perfect view of the blue mountains seen through the terrace between the two buildings. Once seated, the tasting room offers stunning landscape views as the building opens to the fields beyond.
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The tasting room, designed by GO’C, is a reflection of Walla Walla, Washington itself, with a theme of old meeting new with an elegant—yet rustic and casual—feel. It’s recommended you set aside an hour and a half for an Alton Wines tasting, with wines ranging from a classic chardonnay to an original Alton Cabernet Sauvignon.
“We wanted to create a soft edge, a blur from the farmland beyond, through to the new gardens of the winery, the outdoor terrace and finally into the building,” Jon Gentry, GO’C Principal Consultant said. “The statement and focus of the architecture are the views and the relationship to the landscape.”
For a more private tasting, head to the barrel room. By contrast to the tasting room, the barrel room is a more inward-focused space. With visibility from the main approach to the building, visitors can catch a glimpse of both modern and traditional barrel storage techniques. Housed in the center of the barrel room is the wine club space, a private tasting area surrounded by barrels.
“The statement and focus of the architecture are the views and the relationship to the landscape.”
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“A connection to the landscape, outdoor space and opportunity for shade were important factors in designing the winery in an area known for its dry hot summers and cold crisp winters,” Gentry said. “Responding to the client’s desire to have a separate barrel room and tasting room, an open-air covered space is captured between the two spaces. An open, airy inviting tasting room where guests would want to linger was a high priority, with lots of flexibility for programming and events. Opening to both the covered outdoor space and a large terrace to the south increases the usable space and gives guests options to tailor the winery experience to their needs.”
Tastings of current release wines are available by reservation between 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All reservations are made online. If you’re looking to bring a party to the vineyard, Alton Wines can host groups of more than seven Monday through Thursday by reservation. For more information and to schedule a tasting, head here.