Most wineries in Walla Walla, Wash., are small and have varied hours. A few, including Leonetti, are not regularly open to the public or are by appointment only. For details and wine maps, contact the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce (see below).

If you plan to attend special wine-event weekends, reserve early. Restaurants, tasting rooms, inns and hotels book up quickly. Events include the Holiday Barrel Tasting, over the first full weekend of December, and the Spring Barrel Tasting, during the first and second weekends in May.

GETTING THERE: Delta, American Airlines and Northwest offer connecting flights (on Horizon Air) from D.C. to Walla Walla starting at about $350 round trip. By car, Seattle is about five hours away.

WHERE TO STAY: Favorite overnight spots are the grandly renovated Marcus Whitman Hotel (6 W. Rose, 866-826-9422,; rates from $110 to $249 double); the charming 1909 Green Gables Inn (922 Bonsella, 888-525-5501,; $105-$135), with candlelit breakfast; and the Mill Creek Inn (2014 Mill Creek Rd., 509-522-1234,, a bed-and-breakfast with 22 acres of gardens and wildlife habitat, a winery in the carriage house, and rooms in restored farm buildings. Weekday rates run from $145 to $175, weekend $185 to $205.

WHERE TO EAT: The Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant (55 W. Cherry St.), in a historic planing mill, has won awards for its high-minded treatment of fresh seasonal ingredients. A half-hour drive away in little Dayton is the Patit Creek Restaurant (725 E. Dayton Ave. ), specializing in traditional French country cuisine. For an authentic Mexican meal, visit La Hacienda (206 W. Main St., 509-527-0522), where mole{acute} is made daily with cinnamon, chocolate and chicken that falls off the bone. Another popular spot is the new Grapefields wine bar (4 E. Main St., 509-522-3993), which has more than 250 wines from around the world and a French chef who prepares daily cafe-style cuisine.

INFORMATION: Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, 509-526-3117. The Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce (877-998-4748, can provide information on wineries, lodging and outdoor activities, including golf, skiing, birding, fishing and windsurfing.

-- M.L. Lyke