Restaurant Spotlight: Trattoria Colea

Recently, I made the short trek down 2nd Street to Trattoria Colea, the newly opened Italian restaurant that has taken the place of South Fork Grill, where I was greeted by chef/owner Makaiwi Wachter. We sat down to chat in a space that much resembled the South Fork, but had a few noticeable chaTCedits-5nges in décor. Throughout my time with Makaiwi, I was enlightened on the origins of Italian cuisine, his thoughtful strategy in creating a menu, and his dedication to his customers.

Makaiwi wasn’t always a chef. Originally from Vancouver, WA, he worked in the front of the house in restaurants until 2005, until he decided he wanted to be making the food, too. He and his family moved to Walla Walla to allow him to pursue his interest in food and wine and to give his children a charming community and an engaging school system to grow up in. He worked at The Depot and ran the kitchen at the Wild Horse Casino before taking over at South Fork Grill in November. Makaiwi didn’t think the menu embodied his own culinary interests and wanted to focus on a cuisine that would make the most of the seasonal bounty of the area, so he transitioned the restaurant into the family-run Trattoria Colea. His wife and kids, though busy, all lend a helping hand when they can.

Since its opening, Trattoria Colea has sought to find the balance between presenting time-honored Italian dishes and more Americanized Italian dishes to cater to diners of all types. Makaiwi has worked hard to incorporate customer feedback into the menu, changing a dish like the Spaghetti and Meatballs, for example, to make the meatballs a bit spicier. He has also taken his pasta back to its original Asian, not Italian, roots to create a noodle that holds up well in the sauce. Asian noodles like Udon incorporate alkali, which prevent them from becoming mushy in liquid. Many customers tell him that the homemade pasta (just about everything here, for that matter, is made from scratch) is the best they’ve ever had. Additionally, he offers vegan options like polenta as well as a gluten-free pasta to cater to dietary restrictions. For lovers of something more traditionally Italian, he recommends the Bolognese, though his current favorite dish is a beautiful pTCedits-6resentation of Squid Ink Ravioli stuffed with Dungeness Crab and served with a Fennel-Orange Pesto Cream Sauce. By balancing traditional dishes like Bolognese with more creative approaches like the Squid Ink Ravioli, Trattoria Colea is able to appeal to customers of all types. Notably, customers seem to love the very affordable prices, too.

With all of this in mind, it seems obvious why many customers have already become regulars. Customers new and old can look forward to an upcoming weekly Lasagna night and more. Without a doubt, this increasingly popular establishment will continue to ground itself in tradition and made-from-scratch items while offering new and creative approaches to Italian cuisine.

The Faces Behind the Scenes

If you’ve stayed at Walla Faces, you know our hotel is clean! A lot of work, thought and effort go into making everything “just perfect” before you arrive. We know you notice, as you tell us on TripAdvisor and Yelp. The comments of cleanliness are music to our ears! We thank you for those kind words.

It has been another busy week for Julia, Arcelia, and Alejandra. These three, the housekeeping staff of our two inns, are the integral foundation of the day-to-day operations of Walla Faces. Recently, I had the honor of sitting down with them to chat about their work.


“I got lucky on that day,” Debbie says of the days she hired Julia, Arcelia, and Alejandra. Julia and Alejandra has been working for Walla Faces for five years; Arcelia has been for three. All three of the staff are able to cover the needs of our guests at either location. In a pinch, all of them help out with the wine crush and bottling. This year, in addition, they helped pick Syrah at the estate vineyard.

Housekeeping in a hotel is a very physically demanding job that includes many, varied tasks. Despite their many tasks, the women appreciate that their self-run operation allows them to “know what they have to do, and when they have to do it.” Yes, they are a self-directed work team. This, they tell me, is different from their previous jobs. They appreciate having full responsibility and accountability for their work. They help and  look out for one another when necessary.

Perhaps the most striking thing is how compassionate and kind they are. Throughout my time with them, they are smiling and laughing. They chuckle when I bring up tips. They get them sometimes, they say. I’d say they deserve them more often.

WFhousekeepersThen there’s Art, the self-described “jack of all trades, master of none.” Art is the Walla Faces all-round maintenance person, who can handle a technical problem at the inn in the morning, help Victor with tasks in the winery at noon, and be available to oversee operations in the vineyard in the afternoon. Julia and Arcelia tell me that he does it all and can fix anything. He, too, maintains a positive attitude despite his own taxing schedule.

When one thinks “Walla Faces”, some things immediately come to mind: wine, food truck night, and a place to stay in Walla Walla. These three women and our maintenance expert, as a team, keep the complex systems of Walla Faces running – every day. The hotel is a 24-hour operation. The winery is hair-raising busy once a year with other hectic events scattered throughout the year. The agricultural endeavor of the vineyard is equally taxing. All in all, these individuals go above and beyond to ensure everything runs without a hitch.

In the end, it’s the people that make up Walla Faces. We’re “blessed to have them,” Debbie says of the Julia, Arcelia, Alejandra and Art. Together, these dedicated people comprise a community of individuals that make Walla Faces unique for those who stay with us, for those in our wine club, and those who visit the tasting rooms or vineyard. As Debbie says, “we couldn’t do it without them.”

Day 1 of the Crush


Five minutes in and I’m already sorting through grapes. Rick, Alejandra and Arcelia work quickly beside me as my hands struggle to de-stem the grapes at their pace. Art continues to pour in grapes from above, which separate from one another as they filter down to us. A smiling Victor inspects the grapes at the end of the conveyer belt as they fall into a giant bin. “Look at these,” he shouts, “they’re beautiful!”

September in Walla Walla brings with it the annual wine crush, the process of converting the grapes, which have been ripening all summer, into the first stages of wine. For wineries like ours, it means a few days of all-hands-on-deck, long-hour stints. Prior to 2012, Walla Faces outsourced their grapes for the crush. In the past few years, however, we have begun crushing the grapes ourselves. With more control over the crushing process, we have experienced better results. As a new member of the wine industry, I’m eager to learn how it all works.

Today’s grapes come from Two Blondes Vineyard in Zillah, Washington. Owner and co-winemaker Rick Johnson tells me, Two Blondes is overseen by our consulting winemaker, Chris Camarda. Rick and Victor De La Luz set out to pick up the grapes yesterday afternoon, arriving back to Walla Walla late into the evening. Despite the minimal sleep, they are now hard at work in making sure the crush runs smoothly.

Merlot is up first. To begin, the grapes are run through a destemmer that separates the grapes from the stems.  The destemmer then drops the grapes onto a vibrating conveyer belt, from which four workers remove any remaining stems, leaves, and undesirable grapes before the grapes fall into a bin. When the bin is half-full, Victor mixes in Di-ammonium Phosphate and what winemakers call “Superfood”—essentially, nutrients. This process is repeated when the bin becomes fully filled. These additions, Victor tells me, ensure that the nutrient content of the grapes remains sufficient when it comes time for the fermentation. The next step is a new one for us, started only last year: the grapes are left to sit in a cold environment for five days. This hands-off approach allows the grapes to begin breaking down by themselves, producing what Victor describes as softer, more elegant tannins. From there, yeast is added and the temperature is raised, beginning the fermentation process. Fermentation lasts for two weeks before the liquid is transferred to oak barrels to age for twenty to twenty-two months. The liquid, now a more complex and finished wine, is then bottled and, I was intrigued to learn, allowed to sit another year before it is sold.

Throughout today’s process, Victor is rushing around the facilities, operating the forklift for a minute before grabbing the Superfood for the grapes, then hopping back on the forklift to switch out the grapes. It’s hard work for our co-winemaker, yet he maintains a grin and a positive attitude throughout it all. Rick, conversely, works methodically to de-stem the grapes, and exchanges thoughtful dialogue with Victor about the quality of the fruit, the plan for the next few days, and what can be done differently next year. It’s clear that the many years he spent studying architecture help determine his approach to wine: Rick is in many ways our viticulture architect, thoughtfully making decisions about how to extract the most flavor from the grapes, how to protect the grapes from the sweltering heat we experienced this summer, and much more.

We sort through all the Merlot grapes before moving on to Cabernet Franc. During the next week or so, we’ll crush the grapes from our own Estate vineyard. These grapes are picked later than most in Walla Walla due to the relatively high elevation of the vineyard, which give our wines a unique taste and aroma.

By the time I leave to bike home, I’m equally exhausted and thrilled. The crush is a pivotal Walla Walla experience that I am glad I could experience. I just wish I didn’t have to wait over a year to taste the wine I helped make.


Great Northwest Wine: Walla Faces is “Excellent”!

It’s always an honor to receive good reviews, whether for our hotels or our wine. This spring, Walla Faces won the TripAdvisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence for the second year in a row, and today, we’re excited to share two excellent reviews of our wine from Great Northwest Wine!

Great Northwest Wine is an online magazine about wine in the Pacific Northwest, featuring industry tidbits, news about wine, and wine reviews. The project of Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue, two seasoned journalists and wine writers, it updates daily with new content, and is a must-read website for wine enthusiasts, particularly those in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

We sent Great Northwest Wine two samples of our wine–a bottle of the 2012 Tempranillo and a bottle of the 2012 Estate Syrah. The reviews, we’re happy to say, were sparkling.

2012 Syrah and 2012 Tempranillo

The review of the 2012 Tempranillo compliments the choice of fruit–grapes from the “stellar” Stone Tree Vineyard in Wahluke Slope, WA. It describes the wine’s dark fruit flavors and the “splash of cola and creaminess” before settling on a final rating: “Excellent.” Similarly, the review of the 2012 Estate Syrah describes its aromas as “enticing” and its entry and finish as “rich”, and also rates the wine as “Excellent.”

We’re very honored to receive such praise, and want to congratulate co-winemakers Rick Johnson and Victor de la Luz, as well as consulting winemaker Chris Camarda, for a job superbly done!

Restaurant Spotlight: Graze

Graze, offering a simple but delicious menu of sandwiches, salads, and soups to Walla Walla for the last five years, strives to serve “fresh, wholesome, seasonal, and honest food.


A Family Project

The creators of Graze, husband and wife John and Becca Lastoskie, met while they were both working in a restaurant in Sacramento, California. Though neither were trained chefs, it was always their dream to open a restaurant of their own. “The restaurant business is hard, you’ve either got the disposition for it or you don’t. And we love it,” Becca told me.

About ten years ago, they decided to go for it. They quit their jobs, sold their house, and packed their van with their dog and young son, to move “somewhere we could start a business and make it.” They considered Portland and Bend before finally (and luckily for us!) settling on Walla Walla because of its burgeoning wine industry and relatively low cost of living. In 2006, they opened Graze Catering. Serving food at everything from backyard BBQs to weddings to big events at many of the town’s wineries, they made Walla Walla their home.

In 2009, the catering business was struggling, and John and Becca were considering closing it down. Their second child, a daughter, was born premature and they were spending all of their time at the hospital, not quite making ends meet. Instead, after two years of serving sandwiches and other lunch food on the weekends at a stand at the Farmers Market, they decided to open a restaurant. This was the beginning of Graze, ‘a place to eat,’ located on Colville Street a few blocks away from our Inns at Historic Downtown.

“It was a rough time, really rough. But we decided to push through and open the sandwich shop, and everything has just gotten better and better since then.” Now, every January (their daughter’s birth month) John and Becca fundraise for the Ron McDonald House where they once spent so much time by donating 10% of the proceeds of their very successful business.

Delicious Success!

So why serve lunch? “It was less intimidating!” Becca laughed. “And we didn’t want to work nights.” Now Graze is always busy, open for lunch and dinner and serving a wide selection of fresh, healthy, and tasty sandwiches, paninis, salads, and soups. The atmosphere is casual and familial, with great music on the record player and a large shady patio for outdoor diners during hot Walla Walla summers.

Veggie torta

Becca recommends the veggie torta sandwich–yummm.

Sandwiches at Graze

Along with delicious sandwiches, Graze serves fresh salads and delectable soups.

My favorite thing to order at Graze is the turkey pear panini—it is my definite go-to. When I asked Becca the same question, she answered immediately, “The veggie torta!” She also recommended the turkey bacon panini (“our most popular, by far”) and the roasted pear salad with blue cheese dressing. “I would encourage visitors to come order something interesting or unusual, something they wouldn’t get at your average sandwich place,” she added. “Branch out! Everything we serve is good.

The success of Graze has led to even more incarnations of the business. In 2012, John and Becca decided to put their catering kitchen, on 9th St., to further use by opening a drive-thru where they could serve their own version of fast food—Graze’s gourmet sandwiches—through the window. Standing amid all of the traditional fast food places—McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.—it is quick, convenient, and my favorite place to stop for a full, healthy meal on my way out of town. “It was John’s idea, I thought it was crazy! It was slow at first, but now it’s going great,” Becca said of the drive-thru. And just this year, in 2014, John and Becca opened up a second restaurant in Kennewick, to bring their cuisine to the Tri-Cities.

Graze: A Drive Thru

If you’re looking for a quick alternative to fast food, check out Graze’s drive-thru on 9th!

We are so glad that they chose to make their home in Walla Walla and bring such dependable, delicious food to the local residents as well as all of our visitors. Next time you’re in town, swing by for takeout, a peaceful patio lunch, or a fun family dinner. Graze won’t disappoint.

Walla Walla Sandwich Shop

Phone: 509.522.9991

Hours: Daily: 10am-7:30pm & Sunday, 10am-3:30pm”

Address: 5 South Colville Street Walla Walla, WA 99362

Walla Walla Drive Thru:

Phone: 509.540.1261

Hours: Daily: 10am-7:30pm & Sunday, 10am-3:30pm”

Address: 213 S 9th Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Kennewick Sandwich Shop

Phone: 509.221.1020

Hours: Daily: 10am-7:30pm & Sunday, 10am-3:30pm

Address: 8530 West Gage Blvd. Kennewick, WA 99336

What Made Prohibition Popular in Walla Walla?

Walla Walla’s earliest modern winery started in the 1970s, but Walla Walla had a rich history of winemaking that began in 1859, long before Prohibition. The industry had its ups and downs, but Prohibition definitely stamped out the formal wine industry before it restarted many decades later. Today, Prohibition was almost one hundred years ago, yet even in the middle of Walla Walla wine country, the effects of the dry decade are not far in the past. With the history of wine in Walla Walla, why was Prohibition so popular and how does it continue to influence alcohol policy today?

As recently as November 2011, Citizen’s Initiative 1183 was passed in Washington that ended the state monopoly on liquor sales that had existed since the end of Prohibition. Private liquor sales only began on June 1, 2012. How is it possible that Washington’s treatment of alcohol still relied on laws that were made almost a century ago? I went to the Northwest Archives in Whitman College’s Penrose Library, visited the Kirkman House Museum, and read news articles discussing the issue from 2010 and 2012 in order to find out why, in a region so fond of its grains and grapes, Prohibition was so popular.

A Dry Decade in Walla Walla

In order to understand the historical perspective on Prohibition, I looked through Harriette Robinson’s papers in Whitman College’s Library archives. Harriette Robinson was obviously a “dry”—that is, a supporter of Prohibition (in contrast with the anti-Prohibition “wets”). Her postcard collection and scrapbook of “Temperance, Option League, and Prohibition” news clippings showed me how people of the time argued for Prohibition.

Below are some photos of original publications at the time in Walla Walla. The poem titled “Vote for Me, Papa” was in response to the argument from the “wets” that some money from saloons went towards schools through taxes, and it ended on the line, “If I vote for my boy, I can only vote ‘dry’.” Some newspapers pulled all the stops, being at once patriotic, sentimental, funny, and practical.

“Drys” were particularly aggressive in their campaigns against saloons, which they saw as providers of alcohol and places of temptation and vice. The saloon was shown as a predatory, almost monstrous establishment that wasted and corrupted youth. In fact, one satirical ad for saloons contains the lines, “We are just obliged to have new customers–fresh young blood… If you once get started with us we guarantee to hold you.”

The saloon’s thirst for fresh victims in that ad is no doubt due to the large amount of crime and incarceration reportedly linked to alcohol. After all, it’s hard to visit a saloon if you’re in jail! But saloons reportedly caused more than crime–they caused laziness, too. One November 26th, 1909 article said that “the saloon is a constant temptation to farmer boys; is a constant source of annoyance and expense, by reason of impairing the efficiency of farm help.” Alcohol was a significant social problem, especially for an agriculture-based community like Walla Walla, and it was easy to rally behind its prohibition.

The Kirkman House Museum in Walla Walla has a video exhibit titled “Roaring Twenties in Walla Walla” which explained that most citizens adapted to Prohibition. Breweries offered “near beers” or other wholesome beverages.  However, not all Walla Walla folks were happy about giving up their alcohol, and many continued to produce their own in secret. A 1921 newspaper account of the seizure of an illegal still described dumping one gallon of alcohol every 11 seconds. That’s a lot of moonshine!

The Post-Prohibition Age

Today, Prohibition has been repealed for over 80 years, but that doesn’t mean Walla Walla has returned to its loose laws in the Wild West days of unregulated, “shameless dens of infamy”. It has never been the same since, with a minimum drinking age and mandatory alcohol server training to regulate alcohol sales and consumption.

However, although Prohibition taught America some lessons about alcohol, we’re better off without it. After all, Walla Walla’s booming wine industry never would have flourished under Prohibition. Walla Walla’s fine wines deserve to be poured into your glass–not down the drain!

Wine 101: What’s the Deal with Vintage?

“Vintage” means one thing when you’re talking about dresses from the forties or that cool thrift shop you’ve always meant to visit, but it means something entirely different when it comes to wine. I’ve always been vaguely aware of this, but unsure of how what exactly it means or, more importantly, how significant it is to making and choosing the perfect wine.

What makes a wine a vintage?

“Vintage” comes from the French “vin,” meaning simply wine. A wine’s vintage refers to the year its grapes were harvested. In France, the USA, and Canada, to be labeled as a vintage, a wine must be made from 95% of grapes harvested that year. Wines from other parts of the world sometimes have up to 15-25% of grapes from other years in their “vintages.”

Why does the vintage change the quality of the wine so much?

“Vintage variation” is the difference in taste between same wines from different years. Sometimes it is barely noticeable and others it can be very striking! This variation all depends on the way the weather influences the grapes during a given growing season.

A good vintage means the weather was well-balanced throughout the entire year. Not too much rain, not too cold or too hot, no unexpectedly harsh hailstorms… This type of balance allows the grapes to ripen evenly and slowly. Too much rain can cause the grapes to rot, while too much intense heat makes them overripe and increases the taste of alcohol in the wine. Lots of rain right around the harvest can leave grapes flavorless and watery. Even the smallest imbalance of weather, be it “too much” or “too little” of any factor, changes the wine.

Interestingly, a bad year for reds could be a good year for whites. A “cooler vintage,” meaning a year growing season with colder temperatures and perhaps more precipitation, can be a death wish for full, spicy red wines but create whites that are pleasantly crisp and acidic.

a quick look at vintages in the last ten years from

A quick look at vintages in the last ten years, from

Likewise, as this “overly simplified” vintage chart from Wine Folly illustrates, a bad year in France could be a good year in Washington, since weather varies so much between regions.

Does the vintage always matter?

To some extent, yes—wine is an agricultural, not an industrial product, and thus the climate and weather will always influence the way grapes turn out.

However, very decent wines can be made from not-so-decent vintage years, which is often where the skill and craftsmanship of winemakers comes in.

Wines that aren’t from the best vintage years often benefit from aging and can turn out great if they are cellared and stored for a few more years!

Further, some regions have less volatile climates than others. California, for example, is one of the biggest producers of wine in the world, but the weather is so dependably, consistently good that the vintages do not change much from year to year. For California wines, the vintage is not always important.

On the other hand, the famous Bordeaux and Burgundy regions in France are places where the vintage matters very much—and their good vintages are so well known that wine merchants often find it difficult to sell Bordeaux wine from an “off” year, even if it is quite good!

Here in the Pacific Northwest, vintage also matters. While the weather is a little easier to count on in the Walla Walla Valley than in the western part of the state, Washington in a place with lots of variation in our weather. Sometimes it snows in the winter and sometimes it doesn’t, and spring doesn’t have an arrival date—it pretty much comes whenever it feels like it!

While it is definitely not the only factor that makes a wine “good,” vintage is a great thing to know about when tasting or buying wine in Walla Walla!

Restaurant Spotlight: Olive Marketplace and Café

When it comes to places to eat in Walla Walla, I have a special place in my heart for Olive Marketplace and Café. When I moved to town, it was the first place I ever went out to dinner. Since then, I have been back more times than I can count, and for good reason: the food is consistently great, the atmosphere is warm and easygoing, and the eatery is wonderfully and dependably always open—even on Sundays! Located a few blocks down from our Inn at Historic Downtown on Main Street, Olive has a lot to offer.

Olive Marketplace and Café

The Story

Olive is owned by Jake and Tabitha Crenshaw, a husband and wife who moved here in 2006 from Seattle so Tabitha could attend the viticulture school program at Walla Walla Community College. According to Tabitha, they stayed “because we both are lifelong food and wine lovers.” They even met working the restaurant industry, she as a waitress and he as a chef. Jake worked at The Marcus Whitman, T.Maccarone’s, and finally opened his own restaurant, Olive, in 2010.

Before Olive, the warm, spacious, two-story space was Walla Walla’s Merchant’s Café for over thirty years. The Crenshaws “wanted to keep Olive in the same spirit,” meaning a place that was always accessible and always open, for three meals a day. Tabitha explained that “we have our patio, for you to sit and people-watch… it’s a place for the whole community, and we think it keeps Main Street fun, and lively, and the place to be in Walla Walla.

They do a lot to keep it lively.  Local artists rotate art shows through Olive about four times a year, with a big opening reception each time. Every Thursday night, local musicians play live music from 6-8pm, an event that Tabitha and Jake pair with a guest appearance by a local winery to offer a tasting for the guests. “Most wineries close around 4 or 5 pm, so it’s great for visitors to get the chance to try one more, or for locals to come who are just getting off work.” Recently, they started replacing one of these Thursdays a month with a beer tasting. “There are actually lots of local breweries opening up around here,”  Tabitha said.

The Food

“The premise is an accessible community gathering place, with farm-to-table local ingredients,” Tabitha explained. “We get a really good mix of tourists and locals—we see our fair share of tourists, and of course we have 80% local wines on our menu, and 10 or 11 of them that you can get by the glass, so it’s a great place to come if you’re in town for wine tasting to sample a few more local wines. But our locals are our bread and butter, they’re here year-round and we love them.” They host discount pizza nights and offer cooking classes, hoping to give back to the town.

The beauty of Olive is that it’s there for almost any occasion—for a morning espresso and pastry; for full breakfast (personally I recommend the strata); for a glass of wine outdoors in the afternoon; for picnic-goers looking to pick up some artisan bread, cheese, seafood, or meats; for a big family dinner, or even late-night dessert.

Devouring the grape and prosciutto pizza that Tabitha recommended...

Devouring the grape and prosciutto pizza that Tabitha recommended…

I also asked Tabitha for her favorite menu item—a hard question, I knew, since there are so many things to try and taste at Olive just for one meal out of the day! “I would probably pick one of our pizzas—the chefs have just nailed the crust, and it’s perfect and crispy and thin. The salmon pizza is delicious, and the prosciutto and grape is really popular too. “

“And then there’s dessert— there are those beautiful layered cake creations up in the front case—you’re stronger than I am if you can go up to the counter and not order one!”

Olive is a staple in downtown Walla Walla, a place to experience good food and a taste of the town’s community. Plus, you never have to wonder if they’re open.

21 E. Main St., Walla Walla, WA 99362

Phone: (509) 526-0200

Open 8am-9pm Daily

A New Home for the Tasting Room

If you stroll down Walla Walla’s Main Street and stop at a familiar address, you may be in for a surprise: our downtown tasting room is empty!

Empty tasting room

Now that we’ve moved, the downtown tasting room sure looks empty!

After five years in the same place, we finally decided it was time to move to another location: our winery among the Walla Walla Incubators.

Five Years of History

Walla Faces has been at the downtown tasting room for quite some time. In November 2009, we poured some of our very first bottles of Walla Faces wine behind its doors–a 2006 Fusion, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2006 Syrah. We loved meeting all the different people who came to visit, from our hotel guests to Walla Walla locals, and everyone in between!

Crowd of people at Walla Faces

For more than two years, the downtown tasting room was a popular place for live music.

For a number of years, the downtown tasting room featured live music on a weekly basis. Many local musicians came out to play at the tasting room, drawing crowds and adding another hot spot to Walla Walla’s nightlife. Although the live music events were eventually discontinued, we were always happy to give back to the community in that way.

We see this move as an extension of that sense of community. Although we’re sad to leave the downtown tasting room, we’re excited to announce that its place on Main Street, as well as two other storefronts in the Hungate Building, will soon be filled by a variety of independent restaurants. We love Walla Walla’s rich variety of dining options, and are eager to see how these new businesses add to it!

(To assuage some concerns, if you’ve enjoyed staying at our downtown inn in the past, never fear: the Walla Faces Inns at Historic Downtown haven’t gone anywhere.)

Our New Location

But we’re hardly done pouring tastes of our Walla Faces wine! Even though the downtown tasting room is closed, you can still sample and buy Walla Faces wine at our new location: the winery out near the Walla Walla Airport.

Walla Faces winery

Our new home: The Walla Faces winery!

Our tasting room at the airport is just a few minutes’ drive from both of our hotel locations–in fact, from the winery’s front door, you can see the green leaves of the Walla Faces Estate Vineyard. What’s more, since this building also houses our production facilities, while you enjoy a tasting at our new location, not only can you learn about our wine and the Walla Faces story, but you can also watch co-winemaker Victor de la Luz hard at work, carefully crafting Walla Faces’ future wines! A tasting out at the winery puts you at the heart of the Walla Faces experience, from vine to barrel to bottle.

Visiting Us

Our new tasting room is open every day from 11am-5pm, which makes it perfect for a number of different itineraries. If you’re staying at our downtown hotel, try starting your tastings off with a visit to the winery. Not only do our early hours make us perfect for starting a day of tasting, but our location at the airport, surrounded by other fantastic wineries, means you can follow up your Walla Faces visit with an assortment of other tastings before you head back into town! If you’re staying at the vineyard, it’s easy to make one last stop at Walla Faces on your way back to the inn–after all, we’re only two minutes off the highway!

And of course, as you’ll notice when you visit, there’s no shortage of beautiful views.

Golden wheat and blue skies

From the front door of the new tasting room, you can see fields and fields of golden wheat.

This is a big change for Walla Faces, but we’re excited for the new opportunities it presents. Join us at our new tasting room–we can’t wait to see you!

Visit us at the new Walla Faces Winery and Tasting Room!
598 Piper Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362
Open daily 11am-5pm
(877) 301-1181

Certified Excellence, Two Years in a Row!

For the second year in a row, Walla Faces has been honored with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Just like last year, both hotel locations, the Walla Faces Inns at Historic Downtown and the Walla Faces Inns at the Vineyard, are recipients of this prestigious award!

2014 Certificate of Excellence

Both the Walla Faces Inns at the Vineyard and the Walla Faces Inns at Historic Downtown are winners of the TripAdvisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence!

TripAdvisor is the world’s top travel site, offering information about and reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions literally all over the world. The Certificate of Excellence is based on traveler reviews and goes only to the top ten percent of businesses listed on the website. Additional criteria include an overall rating of at least 4 out of 5 over a twelve-month period, and the volume of reviews about a particular establishment. TripAdvisor places value on the personal experiences of visitors over size, scope, or fame of an establishment, and awards the Certificate to everything from tiny bed and breakfasts to gigantic hotels, and everything in between—if their reviews are good enough!

This means we owe all of you who have stayed with us and taken the time to write a rating or review our deepest gratitude. Both locations have five-star average ratings!

Reviews of the Inns at the Vineyard call it “serene” and “peaceful,” praising the location, service, and “over the top extras” like the hot tub, fireplace, and wine and chocolates in each suite.  At the Inns at Historic Downtown, visitors welcome the stylish rooms and “refreshing attention to detail.” Many of you said it was like a home away from home. One traveler writes, “Walla Faces is perfect for our family when in Walla Walla visiting our son at Whitman. We can bring our dog, cook family meals, relax, and the whole family is comfortable! So grateful for this cozy place, that has everything we need!” Another reviewer from this spring said “I literally could have moved in!” At both locations, reviews also consistently mention how much they appreciate the “slick” and “seamless” keypad check-in system.

Co-owner Debbie Johnson says, “We couldn’t have earned this award without our amazing guests. We owe so much to everyone who’s taken the time to write reviews on TripAdvisor… thank you!”

We are always happy to deliver top-class experiences for our guests, and are honored and humbled to receive this recognition for it.

See for yourself why we earned this award—book a room today.