Thank you for your interest in visiting Yakima Valley Wine country. June is a wonderful time to come wine tasting in the Yakima Valley. The days are warm and, being desert, the evenings can be cool enough for a sweater.
The Yakima Valley is 2 ½ hours from Seattle over Snoqualmie Pass (I-90). You can enter the Yakima Valley by continuing on I-82 East or you may choose to follow the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway (Hwy. 821) with its beautiful views of the river. The difference in time is about 10 minutes longer but it is certainly worth it for the scenery. Choosing I-82 East, you climb over the tops of the hills and over the last ridge see the Yakima Valley spread out before you.
From your letter, it sounds like Saturday will be your wine touring day. You have a few options, the Rattlesnake Hills offers wineries in the midst of the vineyards approximately 20 minutes south of Yakima. There are about 20 wineries to choose from in this area, from small unique tasting rooms to estate wineries, they are all different. If you are looking for a light lunch, Bonair Winery offers a light $5.00/plate Tapas menu and may even offer live music on Saturday afternoon.
If you choose to continue further down the valley to Prosser, you will find a dozen wineries in a two block area. Seven beautiful big winery buildings, such as Olsen Estates, Airfield Estates, Thurston Wolfe, and Milbrandt to name a few. The other tasting rooms can be found all in one building. On a summer weekend you will find a few will offer a tapas menu for lunch, such as Milbrandt. Prosser is also the home of the original retail store for Chukar Cherries, chocolate covered dried cherries, they usually have samples to enjoy. (Yum) Keep in mind that wineries may be having special events during your weekend stay and you may want to consider this in choosing which you would like to visit.
Slightly south of Prosser is the Red Mountain AVA, consisting of a dozen wineries surrounded by vineyards. Most of them are located on Sunset Road. Taptiel Winery features a beautiful view from the top of the Hill. Many excellent wines to taste here.
There are limo companies that offer tours such as Sunwest Limosine, or A&A Motorcoach which can accommodate any size group from 4 up. There is also Yakima Valley Tours which offers a luxury van tour of the wineries you would choose to visit.
Kirsten, staying in Yakima is a great option because you can enjoy the wineries in the vineyards during the day and then the downtown Yakima night life. The winery tasting rooms in downtown Yakima, stay open later in the evening than the wineries in the vineyards and offer live music, as well as the late night live music offered at the Sportscenter Restaurant, the Seasons Performance Hall, or Capital Theater presentations. If you are choosing this, there are hotels that are within walking distance of these activities, such as the Hilton Garden Inn, in the middle of downtown Yakima, the Red Lion Hotel, 2 blocks to the east, the Holiday Inn DowntownHoward Johnsons Hotel and Holiday Inn Express. Be sure to check our event page at Visityakimavalley.org for an updated list of activities and events offered during your weekend stay. This list is constantly being revised. (Yakima’s newest hotel), a block further would be the
For a special treat before you leave on Sunday, consider a spa treatment at Ummelina’s International Day Spa and Global remedies. They offer a variety of relaxing rejuvenating spa experiences. Ummelina’s is open at 10:00am on Sunday, in time for you to relax before the drive home.
When you arrive please stop at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center, Exit 33a off I-82 E . We will be able to assist you with maps and current event information.
I know you and your friends will enjoy your visit to the Yakima Valley.