Published 09/20/2019 at 4:33 AM PDT
By OREGON TRAVEL DAILY STAFF
(Walla Walla, Washington) – Washington’s wine country once again makes the grade, as the Walla Walla Valley was recently named one of five finalists around the globe for Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine. It’s the third time since 2012 the area has caught that honor, a nomination given out as part of the publication’s 20th annual Wine Star Awards. The bustling but laidback Pacific Northwest region is up against other prestigious finalists including Mosel, Germany, Sicily, Italy, Sonoma County, Calif., and Stellenbosch, South Africa.
“This nomination is as much a testament to the quality of wine being produced in the Walla Walla Valley, as it is to the people who are producing it, the community that embraces it, and the visitor experience that has been carefully built around it,” said Ron Williams, CEO of Visit Walla Walla. “They say the third time’s a charm, and after coming up just shy in 2012 and 2015 we are confident that Walla Walla can compete and prevail on the global stage against the world’s elite wine regions.”
Wine Enthusiast editors said the Walla Walla Valley had an interesting duality.
“The tree-lined farm and college community of Walla Walla may look quiet, but it’s the center of winemaking and wine tourism in Southeastern Washington,” the publication said. “The Walla Walla appellation boasts more than 100 wineries.”
Editors at the publication also noted there are “dozens of well-respected vineyards” and made a sizable towards Oregon.
“The AVA spills over into Oregon, where the new Rocks District AVA is a hotbed of grape growing. The town of Walla Walla is packed with walkable tasting rooms and restaurants. It boasts one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the West, along with frequent blues and jazz concerts, and numerous art galleries.”
The Walla Walla Valley has continued to establish itself among the world’s elite wine regions, most recently having been named Best Wine Town for 2018 by Sunset Magazine, and featured in the February 2019 issue of Travel + Leisure which implored its readers that “Every Wine Lover Should Plan A Trip To Walla Walla.”
“Washington has steadily evolved into the country’s second leading producer of wine, and the Walla Walla Valley AVA has emerged as a clear leader not just within the state, but among the world’s top wine regions,” said Robert Hansen, executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “On behalf of our members and the more than 120 wineries who are producing wine in the valley, we are honored to be recognized alongside such a respected group of finalists from Germany, Italy, California, and South Africa.”
The Wine Star Award winners will be recognized in Wine Enthusiast’s “Best of the Year” issue in December and at a black tie gala in late January at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The event includes awards in 16 categories, highlighting pioneers and innovators that continue to elevate the wine industry from small boutiques and individuals, to large scale companies and regions.
For more information on the Wine Enthusiast Magazine Wine Star Awards including a list of all finalists, please visit the Wine Star Awards site. For more information on the Walla Walla Valley and the region’s wine, head to www.wallawalla.org or www.wallawallawine.com.
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