Grapes, however, are a surprisingly hardy stock, and tend to crop up in
the unlikeliest of places, from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New
York to the arid Arizona landscape.
You’ll find even more in Oregon and Washington. In fact, the
Interstate 5 corridor through Oregon and between Olympia and Bellingham,
Washington, is home to more wineries than you could ever hope to visit
— and there are dozens more dotting the Columbia River Gorge, Yakima
Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley and the Tri-Cities.
Knowing your vintages is one thing; knowing where the wineries
are located, when they offer tours and tastings and what else the region
holds in store is something else again. Fortunately, Fodor’s Travel
Publications has augmented its popular Compass American Guides: California Wine Country, with new Compass guides: Oregon Wine Country and Washington Wine Country (both written by John Doerper, with photography by Greg Vaughn).
More than simply guides to the grapes, the two books provide
information on major grape varieties; historical backgrounds on the
major grape-growing valleys; even events and festivals. Doerper has done
a good job of grouping the wineries, with concise driving directions —
reading the guide, you know he’s visited the sites himself. The entry
for Dayton, in the Walla Walla Valley, for example, also includes
details of its 88 historical Victorian buildings.
Many of these wineries produce only a few hundred cases, so a
visit is often the only way to acquire the wines (some states do not
allow out-of-state shipments).
Available through Fodor’s Travel Publications, fodors.com