It was a cold spring day as we drove to Walla Walla. We took the usual scenic route through the Cascade Mountain Range to Vantage before heading south along the Columbia River on and off till we arrived in the wine country.
|Breathtaking drive through the Cascades
March 15 (Sunday)
It seemed unusually quiet even for the shoulder season in Walla Walla wine country. Cayuse had called off its annual Private Release weekend, usually held in the first weekend of April. There were rumors that other wineries might follow suit, culminating in the cancellation of Spring Release in May.
We snuck in a visit to the newly opened tasting room of Caprio Cellars in the southside. The winery welcomed us with a glass of sparkling Vouvray before we got into the estate 2018 Semillon. This was followed by a vertical tasting of the 2015 to 2017 Eleanor Vineyard Bordeaux blends. Completing the line-up was my favorite, the 2015 Sanitella, also a Bordeaux blend but from both estate Eleanor and Octave Vineyards.
|Wine tasting at the new Caprio Cellars tasting room
March 16 (Monday)
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars, and large social gatherings starting the next day. That would include all tasting rooms. Not knowing how long this would last, we got together with some close friends for our last supper to support our favorite restaurant, Passatempo.
|Last supper at Passatempo
March 20 (Friday)
TGIF! I have not spent this much time at home, and the dogs definitely love it. Once or twice a day, we will take the dogs to the beautiful Pioneer Park and Aviary across the street from our house. The dogs enjoy checking out their feathered friends and sniffing out red fox squirrels.
|Dog-tired from working remote
March 21 (Saturday)
We did get the lasagne meal deal from Caprio Cellars after all. It came with a bottle of wine, a scrumptious salad with sliced beets and citrus dressing, brownies for dessert, and the winery-branded toilet roll!
BAD NEWS! Walla Walla County got its first confirmed case of COVID-19. A man in his 40s is under home isolation for two weeks or three days without fever, whichever is longer. We believe we will see more cases in the coming days.
March 23 (Monday)
This is the start of my second week of remote work from Walla Walla. The work day ended with Governor Inslee issuing a stay-at-home order. We had already been home for the most part besides running essential errands and walking the dogs. We started looking into grocery delivery services such as Instacart. In Walla Walla, that means a fine offering of Safeway, Albertson's, and Petco.
March 27 (Friday)
The work week ended with a total of five confirmed COVID cases in the county; all under home isolation. One of them happened to be a TSA screening officer at the Walla Walla Regional Airport. The airport was shut down a couple of days for deep cleaning.
|2011 Dunham Late
Winemakers, Eric Dunham and Daniel Wampfler, were certainly right in their description that the "wine is going to last a long, long time in the bottle (if left unopened)." It is quite delightful!
March 29 (Sunday)
Another quiet home weekend spent working on the yard and cleaning the house. Spring weather is always unpredictable with a mix of rain and sun breaks. Feeling a little stir-crazy, we decided to go out for a drive to Milton-Freewater in Oregon.
While it sounds far, the truth is Walla Walla and Milton-Freewater are less than 12 miles apart, equidistant from the stateline. In fact, Walla Walla AVA extends from southeastern Washington to the northeastern Oregon. You really get both Washington and Oregon wines from the AVA.
|Rainbow over spring wheat field
The drive through parcels of vineyards and wheat fields turned out to be quite uplifting. To top that, we were greeted by a light rainbow that stretched across a huge spring wheat field with the Blue Mountains as a faint backdrop. It gave me hope that the pandemic shall pass as we wait it out in beautiful Walla Walla wine country.