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Find the Best Washington Wine Region for You


Wineries thrive across Washington State, from Bellingham in the northwest to Walla Walla in the southeast, and beyond. This quiz will help you choose a region you'll enjoy, based on your schedule and interests.

Part I: Your schedule and general interests:

1. How much time do you plan to spend on wine touring?
a) After a day or so, I'm ready for a beer
b) I'd spend all year touring wineries if I could

2. Whom do you identify with most in "Green Acres"?
a) Lisa Douglas -- "Darling, I love you but give me Park Avenue."
b) Oliver Douglas -- "Keep Manhattan just give me that countryside!"

3. What kind of eye-candy do seek most when traveling through a wine region?
a) Sumptuous estates and manicured lawns
b) Back roads and acres upon acres of vineyards

Tallying your responses

If you answered "a" to most of these questions, then consider a trip to the Woodinville Wine Region. It's just 45 minutes from Seattle, letting you combine wine-country touring with the more urban pleasures of Seattle in one trip. You won't spot any vineyards in the region, since the wineries bring in grapes from growers elsewhere in the state. However, in classic wine-country style, you'll find landscaped grounds, handsome tasting rooms, and pleasant picnic areas at two of the state's largest wine producers, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery. You can also taste lesser-known wines, though in more functional venues, at smaller wineries in the area.

If you answered "b" to most of these questions, then a spin around one of state's other well-known regions might be more worth your while. Proceed to Part II.

PART II: Walla-Walla or the Yakima Valley

1. When traveling, what kind of natives would you most like to encounter:
a) Artsy college-town types
b) Salt-of-the-earth folk

2. Who is more your style of leading actress?
a) Gwyneth Paltrow: Smart and sophisticated
b) Francis McDormand: Wise and down to earth

3. What kind of digs do you dig most?
a) A historic hotel, a plush inn or a bed-and-breakfast
b) Who cares? It's all about the wine for me!

4. What kind of footwear best fits your overall sense of style?
a) Strappy high heels or polished dress shoes
b) Rugged hiking boots or sensible walking shoes

5. Wine varieties that interest you most include:
a) I've got my eye on reds -- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah
b) Whatever the winery does best -- red or white

If you answered "a" to most of the questions, you'll likely prefer Walla Walla, the state's most popular wine region; boutiques, restaurants and wine bars jam the revitalized downtown of this energetic college community. You can stay in the ornate circa-1928 Marcus Whitman Hotel after a day of touring among the region's 100 wineries and 1,200 acres of vineyards. Red wines snag the most acclaim, with bold Syrahs especially emerging as the wine to watch. Outdoor lovers can hike or bike the Blue Mountains, 20 miles east of town.

If you answered "b" to most questions, consider a trip to Yakima Valley, home to 11,000 vineyard acres and nearly 80 wineries. Specializing in Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah, most of wineries hug a 60-mile stretch of interstate from Yakima to just past Prosser, and include well-known Hogue Cellars as well as boutique wineries and family- run operations. Though responsible for growing more than one-third of the state's grapes, the hardworking area is not known for quaint wine-country amenities and charms. However, the city of Yakima is just 30 minutes from hiking, camping and kayaking opportunities in the Cascade Mountain Range, allowing travelers to easily combine outdoor pursuits with wine-country discoveries in one trip.


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