A Drive Through Southeast Washington’s Wine Country
These days, it’s not the wine causing all the buzz in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley. It’s the new crop of creative, farm-fresh food.
By Beth Collins
Published: May 2011
You’d think that a guy like actor Kyle MacLachlan would be a superstar in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley. He grew up in the area, a blossoming wine-producing region in the remote Blue Mountain foothills, and in 2005 he started his own small line of Cabernet here. MacLachlan is such a big Walla Walla booster, in fact, that he recently donated the 34-foot Airstream trailer he used on the set of Twin Peaks to a local fromagerie so that twentysomething food-industry interns would have a decent place to live cheaply while they learned a new skill.
And yet if you spend much time in Walla Walla, you’ll find that MacLachlan is a minor attraction compared with Pierre-Louis and Joan Monteillet. Never heard of them? Perhaps that’s because they devote their days to crafting artisanal cheeses. That’s the funny thing about Walla Walla: In this valley (a four-hour drive east of Portland on I-84, followed by a stretch through lovely quiet byways), the real celebrities aren’t who you’d expect, not even the vintners.