August 9: Yakima Valley, Washington (wine country)

We decided to pack up and leave Tacoma, Washington for Yakima Valley. As you enter the city center there is a sign that reads- The Palm Springs of Washington. It is a drier, more arid climate and peaches, apples, cherries and my favorite, grapes for table wine are abundant here. They brag about four distinct seasons and the summer climate was warm but due to the lack of humidity….quite lovely and tolerable.  Yakima was one of the cities that was impacted by Mount Saint Helen’s when it erupted in 1980, and they got quite a bit of ash that fell from the sky and covered the town and countryside. The fields are fertile and the crops, abundant. There are many roadside fruit and nut stands and we took advantage of the cherries that were at the tail end of the growing season. We stayed for 3 days and went wine tasting on one day and headed back to Mount Rainier the other. Yakima is wine country and tours are offered Thursday through Monday. Some wineries are open every day but it pays to check before heading out. My favorite winery is Bonair Winery and Vineyard. The Petite Verdot and Chardonnay some of the best wines I have ever tried. Gail and Shirley Puryear planted the vineyard in 1980 and harvested their first grapes in 1984. Michael and I had the honor of meeting both of them and were impressed with their knowledge of wine and wine country. Gail looks and acts just like Bill Murray and has a wicked sense of humor. We bought both the Chardonnay and the Petite Verdot. I also learned that a good bottle of Chardonay should be served at room temperature. We left Bonair Vineyards feeling happy and I was allowed to stroll through the grounds  and was able to take lovely photographs of the lush grapes and the friendly ducks in the pond.

Gail Puryear Bonair Vineyard

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