Most of the best wine-tasting around the Tri-Cities can be found to the east in the Yakima Valley and to the west in Walla Walla valley. However, travelers on a tight schedule can still find enough wineries close by to fill up a pleasant afternoon.
The parklike grounds at Preston Premium Wines (509/545-1990, www.prestonwines.com, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily) are perfect for a picnic. The second-story deck off the tasting room overlooks the vineyards and a grassy area lined with birch trees and flower beds. Take a stroll and enjoy the antique tractors and shady gazebo. The tasting room sells a selection of gourmet goodies to get that picnic started on the right foot.
Ask the expert staff at Bookwalter Winery (710 S. Windmill Rd., Richland, 509/627-5000, www.bookwalterwines.com, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Tues., 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.) for help pairing tasting wines with the artisan cheeses and meats offered in its first-rate tasting room. Slide into a stool at the tasting bar or set up shop in the garden patio. In the evening hours you’ll be serenaded by the live music acts that play here.
If you go to Bookwalter, be sure to make time to also stop in at Barnard Griffin Winery (878 Tulip Lane, Richland, 509/627-0266, www.barnardgriffin.com, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition