One-of-a-kind Walla Walla tasting room named finalist for national award

The public can vote for their favorite tasting room through Aug. 10

Walla Walla, Washington is known for an abundance of wineries, tasting rooms and almost endless vineyard fields. The area near the Blue Ridge Mountains regularly receives national attention for the immersive winery experience but one winery in particular is getting recognized for the environment they offer their customers.

Long Shadows Vintners in Walla Walla was selected as a finalist for Best Tasting Room in USA TODAY’s 2020 Best Travel Awards. This is the second year the winery has been a finalist for the award and as of Thursday, they are in first place out of the 20 finalists.

Dane Narbaitz is the President of  Long Shadows Vintners and says they never intended for the winery to offer a tasting room, but quickly learned they needed one.

“When we built the winery, originally it was just suppose to be a production center but we found that people want to see where the wine is made, what the process is so we made this amazing tasting room.”

The tasting room includes one-of-a-kind installations from artist Dale Chihuley. He has visited the winery on multiple occasions and is friends with the founder of Long Shadows Vintners, Allen Shoup. Their friendship began in the 1980’s and Chihuley designed several pieces for the room including a chandelier.

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Narbaitz said it’s not only their tasting room that is unique, their wines are also a special find.

“Our wines aren’t going to be found at national grocery store chains. They aren’t found at just any restaurant but they are in some around the country. They are in specialty wine shops and we do have a wine club and in businesses around the country as well.”

Guests have options when it comes to tours of the Long Shadows winery. They can enjoy tastings and learn about the wines created there. They can also see some of the production process at the facility. Normally, barrel tastings would be offered but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the company is offering a flight of wines for guests to taste.

Narbaitz said the entire operation focuses on the experience offered in Walla Walla.

“Ideally we would like to think that the wines are what draw customers there, but then I think certainly the art is nice backdrop,” he said, “This time of year, people can sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine. Look out over the blue mountains. It’s pretty special experience.”

“It has always been our goal to provide the most enjoyable and memorable experiences for our guests, and we’re proud of our tasting room staff for this recognition. If you haven’t had a chance to relax in our Chihuly Tasting Room or on our expansive patio with the beautiful view of the Blue Mountains, we hope you’ll find time to visit us soon,” staff with Long Shadows wrote in a press release.

Long Shadows is the only winery from Washington state to become a finalist.

“We hope to bring some national attention to this deserving viticultural region,” staff said.

You can vote once a day until the contest ends on August 10th. To cast your vote, click here.