Good Neighbors

Walla Walla Valley not defined by state lines

Photo by Richard Duval


Years before Oregon became the thirty-third state in the union, Washington was considered part of the Oregon Territory. This notion the two regions are linked has persisted at least since the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Several years ago, while exploring the Walla Walla Valley, I observed this attitude as locals shuttled back and forth between the two states. The thoroughfare named Stateline Road, designating the division, is one residents unceremoniously crisscross, often several times a day.

The Walla Walla Valley is one of very few TTB-approved wine appellations not defined by state borders– portions rest in both Oregon and Washington. (Another example is the Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area, or AVA.)

In fact, it wholly contains The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, a nested AVA located on the Oregon side of the state line. The two areas are strongly connected through the entwined vines.

Our rules for Cellar Selects allow Washington-based wineries situated within both the Gorge and Walla Walla Valley to submit wines for consideration. I, too, have adopted this criteria when considering content for each issue.

Therefore, I’m delighted to share this month’s cover story, featuring some of the many tasting rooms in downtown Walla Walla. Recently, that number has increased, creating an inviting pedestrian-friendly wine experience. I strive to share informative stories. Highlighting this quaint, walkable town, filled with historic buildings– and an abundance of wine– proved an obvious choice.

I hope you, too, will embrace this viewpoint (if you don’t already). Visit our neighbors to the north. Discover how their pioneering spirit matches ours in Oregon.
We are more alike than different.

Michele Francisco spent her childhood reading and writing, eventually graduating from UCLA with an English degree. She attended graphic design school and began a career in design and marketing. After moving to Oregon in 2010, Michele studied wine at Chemeketa Community College and began Winerabble, a Northwest-focused wine blog. She has been a cheerleader for Oregon wine since her arrival.

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