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The Yakima Valley is home to five American Viticultural Areas, more than 120 wineries and over one third of the state’s vineyards. Touring and tasting in Yakima Valley wine country takes you to the source, right where more than 50% of Washington’s wine grapes are grown. This is where you discover a farm to glass wine tasting experience, whether at a grand estate or quaint, boutique winery. This is where you’re likely to find winemakers and growers ready to give you a warm welcome and share their passion and pride for the exceptional wines that come out of our beautiful corner of the world. The Valley has a rich diversity of microclimates, rugged hillsides, and wetlands. These factors contribute to the many wine grape varieties and wine styles produced from Yakima Valley grapes. The most widely planted varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah and Riesling.
Eating local is a snap when you're surrounded by farms and orchards. 3,000 farms grow more than 40 commercial crops in the Yakima Valley and farm-fresh produce is within reach almost year-round, from asparagus in April to apples and potatoes in October. Some summer months are particularly fruitful -- like July, when you can pick apricots, green beans, blueberries, corn, nectarines and squash. Many farms offer seasonal u-pick experiences, specialty foods and festivals. The Valley’s dining scene also explodes with new options, as local chefs take inspiration from the agricultural bounty around them. It’s Farm Fresh Fun!
The Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center is designed to tell the story of the Plateau people and their lands. The Yakama Nation Museum is recognized as one of the finest Native American Museums in the United States. After touring the museum indulge in an authentic Yakama Nation meal with a live cultural arts performance program of storytelling of Yakama legends or a performance by the Yakama Native American Dance Group.
Travel on the last original turn-of-the-century electric railroad in the US through apple orchards and across the swift Naches River. Enjoy the vistas and basalt cliffs while riding the vintage 1900’s trolley as it enters the charming city of Selah.
Consider staying at Cherry Wood Bed, Breakfast and Barn, located on a working farm surrounded by over 15 wineries, offering wine tasting trips via horseback throughout the vineyards and orchards. They also offer guests unusual luxury accommodations in their teepees, bunk houses and cozy bed and breakfast rooms. Need more wine adventures? Head over to the lower Yakima Valley where Red Mountain Trails hosts wine tasting tours by horseback, wagon and bike throughout the Red Mountain AVA or visit Vintner’s Village and enjoy ten tasting rooms all just short walks from one another.
The Yakima Valley offers several experiences beyond the typical museum gallery format. Come to Toppenish, “Where the West Still Lives," and take the Mural Tour. Board a horse-drawn wagon and view more than 70 pieces of historic western art that adorn the walls of downtown buildings. In the city of Yakima, the Yakima Museum guides you through the origination of the city and its history. Afterward you may choose to sit back and enjoy sundaes in the museum’s 1930’s Art Deco Tom Tom Bistro at the Soda Fountain. In the small, eclectic city of Tieton, find an outstanding collective of artisans at Mighty Tieton. You’ll find live music in the air all around the Valley, in beautiful vineyard settings and tasting rooms and at our breweries, parks, festivals, theaters and more!
Brave the rapids, scale a rock, bike the canyon or hook a trout in Washington Wine Country. The Yakima Valley offers a perpetually sunny environment for adventure of all levels. The mountains west of Yakima offer excellent rock climbing and the Yakima Canyon offers bikers a wide-open scenic ride. Within the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy, find an extensive trail system where you can explore the stunning and unique shrub steppe landscape of the Yakima Valley. The annual Flip Flop occurs every September when a torrent of water is released from Rimrock Lake down to the Tieton River, creating a fast-paced intermediate rafting adventure. If you're looking to slow down the pace, "chase rainbows" on the Yakima River, a classic western trout stream and what anglers call a "blue-ribbon" trout stream – the best in the state.
There are a lot of other places you can visit that like to say they are big craft beer destinations. They all have great beers and cool breweries, but what those other destinations don’t tell you is that they wouldn’t be able to brew their beers without the Yakima Valley. The right combination of soil, climate and water access have made this valley one of the most important hop growing regions in the world. Our growers proudly produce more than 75% of the United States hop crop, which means they are single-handedly responsible for keeping the craft beer industry brewing. But, it’s our craft brewery scent that’s hopping! This is home to the only hop country craft beer trail! So, when you come to the Yakima Valley, you really do come to the source of the craft beer industry.
Find more story ideas about the Yakima Valley on our Hand-Crafted Stories blog.