Touring Yakima Valley: the Wine Country of Washington

The Yakima Valley is located in the state of Washington and has so much to offer travelers. The valley was originally settled by Native Americans who planted their crops along the fertile soil that would later become known as “the basket” for its abundance of fruits and vegetables. Today, the area is known as the Wine Country of Washington, producing grapes and hops for a variety of beverages that are popular all throughout the state. Yakima Valley has over 100 individual wineries, many offering free wine tastings to travelers on their way through the area.

While visiting, there are many places to explore, including wineries, museums, parks, restaurants and more! What could be better than spending your summer vacation in a beautiful RV, driving through the Yakima Valley? This is a region that is full of natural beauty and cultural diversity. You will find people exploring wineries, orchards, gardens, mountainsides and vineyards on horseback. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy including hiking, biking and fishing. Grab your Harvest Hosts membership, and clear some space in your cabinets for wine as we take a tour of the beautiful Yakima Valley.

Photo credit: Yakima Valley Tourism

What to Do

In addition to wine tasting, there are plenty of other awesome activities to enjoy when visiting Yakima. Visitors’ favorite activities tend to include exploring both local museums and outdoor spaces alike. Be sure to add  a few of these activities to your list before heading out to explore wine country.

1. Visit a Museum

The Yakima Valley offers a wide variety of museums to choose from if that is your thing. Be sure to choose from any of these if you want to hear about the history and industry of this area.

Yakima Valley Museum

A great way to start your day is with a visit to the Yakima Valley Museum! This family-friendly museum has something for everyone. It features exhibits and artifacts that tell stories of Native Americans, pioneers, early settlers, and other historical figures who have shaped this region into what it is today. 

Photo credit: KDA Architecture

Northern Pacific Railway Museum

The Northern Pacific Railway offers free admission to their museum and is a great place for railroad enthusiasts to learn. It also has exhibits that focus on Native American culture, the logging industry, and agriculture in Washington state, including the production of apples, hops, wines and more.

Photo credit: Yakima Herald

American Hop Museum

The American Hop Museum covers one of the biggest industries here: beer! This small but interesting museum showcases artifacts from an antique store next door with plenty of hop memorabilia everywhere you look. You will learn about how beer was made years ago and its relationship to Yakima Valley today through photos, old advertisements, and advertising signs, which have been rescued from demolished buildings over time. The building itself is full of character as it used to be a general store back in 1869 before becoming known as “the ‘hoppingest’ spot north of San Francisco” in 1917.

Photo credit: South Cascades Loop

2. Get outside

In addition to being ideal for growing both hops and grapes, Yakima Valley is also ideal for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. Check out any of the following activities if you want to incorporate outdoor adventures into your vacation.

Cowiche Canyon Hiking

Located in the foothills of Yakima Valley, Cowiche Canyon has hikes that are considered both easy and moderately-challenging. On Cowiche Canyon Trail, the path takes you through a forest filled with tall trees, and it’s not unusual for hikers to spot deer or elk here. There are also several trails that will take you along creeks, rivers and waterfalls too, so don’t forget to snap some photos.

Photo credit: The Mountaineers

Yakima Sportsman State Park 

Hiking isn’t the only great way to explore Yakima: there are also plenty of places to fish, even if kayaking isn’t really your thing. If fishing sounds like something right up your alley then make sure you visit Yakima Sportsman State Park where there is a boat launch, a fishing pier, and plenty of fish to catch!

Photo credit: Washington State Parks

White Pass Ski Area

If you are visiting Yakima Valley during the winter, then don’t miss out on White Pass Ski Area, where there are skiing opportunities for all ages. Snowboarding is not permitted in this part of Yakima County, but this ski area certainly makes up for that with its wide variety of trails designed specifically for skiers of all experience levels. You can also rent equipment right at the base, and they offer lessons too.

Photo credit: On the Snow

Yakima Area Arboretum & Botanical Garden

This isn’t a traditional park, but Yakima county’s arboretum and botanical gardens are definitely worth seeing. They have collections of bonsai trees and camellias, as well as perennials with lots of other wonderful plants that you’ll want to see up close. Be sure to snap some photos if you’re here during the spring or summer months when these flowers really start blooming! There is also an Azalea Walk which offers stunning views in early April, and they even open for special events such as weddings at this time, too. 

Harvest Hosts Locations

Because we are visiting wine country, a majority of the Harvest Hosts found here are wineries. However, these eighteen locations span a small, fifty-mile radius and offer a unique look into the area’s winegrowing culture. No visit to Wine Country Washington is complete without a winery stop, so be sure to add a few of these to your list.

1. Fortuity Cellars

Located in the Yakima Valley and established in 2017, winery owners Lee and Emily Fergestrom work closely with wine grape growers to select fruit that showcases the best of the Yakima Valley. Quality is a top priority and the results are bright, fruit-driven wines, which are perfect for pairing with food. Currently, this winery offers two pet-friendly spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length from Friday through Sunday only.

Photo credit: Yakima Herald

2. Knight Hill Winery

This awesome winery offers stunning views and a little tasting room inside an old barn. They feature a variety of white and red wines, as well as a gift shop, a picnic area, and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Currently, they offer one space for an RV of any size. Please keep in mind that this is not a pet-friendly location.

3. Hyatt Vineyards

Hyatt Vineyards was established by Leland and Lynda Hyatt in 1983. Evolving from a modest estate vineyard surrounding the winery, Hyatt Vineyards has grown to almost 200 acres all nestled into the Rattlesnake Hills of Zillah, Washington. Today, they offer over fifteen varietals of wine and a tasting room full of gift items. They have a large parking lot and offer beautiful picnic grounds with views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. Currently they have four pet-friendly spaces available for RVs under thirty-five feet in length.

4. Tanjuli Winery

Tanjuli Winery celebrates wine as a labor of love and attention to detail, embracing the synergies of old and new, as well as the camaraderie and small joys of winemaking. Today, the Tanjuli vineyard consists of eleven different types of grapes. Each small block of grapes is meticulously managed from vine to bottle, resulting in truly exceptional wines. They offer one space for an RV under twenty-nine feet in length, and visitors must purchase a minimum of four bottles of wine in order to stay overnight. Please keep in mind that this is not a pet-friendly location.

5. Bonair Winery and Vineyards

Bonair Winery and Vineyards has been quietly producing their own estate-grown and bottled wines since 1985. Today, they offer varietals such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Malbec, and Merlot. This winery is set in a gorgeous location with prime views and a little duck pond. They are open daily from April through October and offer six pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.

6. Paradisos del Sol

Paradisos del Sol Winery offers beautiful wine varieties such as whites reds, roses, and dessert wines, in addition to a variety of picnic foods to perfectly accompany the wine. In addition to wine, they offer a dog run, a gift shop, a pond, gardens, a picnic area, and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. They have four pet-friendly spaces available for RVs under forty-four feet in length, and hours vary throughout the year.

Photo credit: Kazzit

7. Cultura Wine

Cultura released its first vintage wine in 2005, producing about 180 cases. By 2019 they were up to 1000 cases a year. However, they have since expressed a desire to keep their wines small-batch, focusing on quality over quantity. This hands-on, old world approach is reflected in every bottle of Cultura wine, expressing the winemakers’ gusto for the handcrafted life and an appreciation for how nature shapes the wines they make. Currently, this winery offers two pet-friendly spaces for RVs under thirty-five feet in length.

8. Silver Lake Winery

Silver Lake Winery and Vitis Spirits is a shared winery and distillery tasting room located in Zillah, Washington. Here, guests can enjoy quality wines, spirits, and pizzas from the comfort of a beautiful bistro patio offering plenty of fantastic views. Currently, they offer two pet-friendly spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length.

9. Portteus Vineyards

Established in 1981, Portteus Vineyards specifically focus on red wines, bottle varietals such as  Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Malbec, and Port. This beautiful location features a drive-thru vineyard and has been named “One of America’s Great Cabernet Producers” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Thie vineyard is available from March through October and offers four pet-friendly spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length.

Photo credit: Wine Yakima Valley

10. Severino Cellars

Located in the heart of the Yakima Valley, this boutique family-owned winery crafts award-winning wines that are hand-crafted and produced in small lots. The tasting room and cellars are located inside of a restored, turn-of-the-century farmhouse. The owners love the experience of hosting guests, letting them sample some wine, and then having them take some wine home and create new memories of their own with it. They offer five pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.

Photo credit: Kazzit

11. Velen Winery

This small winery offers three red wines, two white wines, one rose, and one blush wine in a beautiful setting with views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. In addition to offering tastings and sales, they also offer tours and a beautiful outdoor patio area to enjoy. Currently, they have five pet-friendly spaces available for RVs of any size.

12. Snipes Mountain Restaurant & Brewery

This microbrewery and restaurant is the only Yakima Valley Harvest Hosts location that is not a winery or a vineyard! Whether your visit is to satisfy your thirst, or to enjoy a fabulous meal, Snipes Mountain Restaurant & Brewery has a little something for everyone. They offer both indoor and outdoor dining, as well as three pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.

13. Barrel Springs Winery

Barrel Springs is a small boutique winery located in the heart of wine country. Here, guests can enjoy the park-like setting and estate vineyard while tasting award-winning wines and watching some beautiful sunsets. They offer premium varietal wines in their tasting room and small gift shop, as well as beer, artisan cheeses, and charcuterie boards. Currently, they have two pet-friendly spaces available for RVs under thirty-five feet in length, as well as WiFi.

Photo credit: UrbanAsh

14. Purple Star Winery

This family-owned boutique winery offers flights, wine by the glass or the bottle, and a full food menu. Guests can make table reservations and view the full menu on their website. In addition to wine sales and tasting and the restaurant, they also offer an outdoor area and opportunities for wildlife viewing. They have one pet-friendly space for an RV under forty-four feet in length available, and they prefer that guests arrive before 3:30 P.M. on the day of their arrival and leave by 10:30 A.M. on the day of their departure.

Photo credit: Yakima Valley Wine Country

15. Anelare

“Anelare” means “desire” or “yearning” in Italian, and this is exactly the vibe that Anelare owners created with their premium winery. In addition to wine tastings and sales, they also offer a gift shop and a restaurant. Currently, they have three pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size available, as well as WiFi.

16. Kiona Vineyards Winery

Starting with a small swatch of deserted land and a penchant for risk-taking, John Williams founded Kiona Vineyards and Winery with the belief that in order to make quality wine, one must start with quality fruit. With this tradition, the family has been planting, growing, and harvesting grapes, then producing beautiful wines on the Kiona Vineyards property for over three decades. In addition to wine tastings and sales, they offer a gift shop, tours, a patio area, and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Currently, they have one pet-friendly space available for an RV of any size.

17. MonteScarlatto Estate

MonteScarlatto Estate Winery is located on Red Mountain in Benton City, Washington. It offers robust red and rosé wines in limited quantities. In addition to the winery, they also have a nine-hole golf course and eight RV spaces with water and sewer hookups available. In addition to wine tasting and sales, they also offer WiFi, tours, a patio area, and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Currently, they have five pet-friendly spaces available for RVs of any size.

18. Badger Mountain Vineyard & Powers Winery

Badger Mountain Vineyard was the first certified organic winery in the state of Washington. Years after opening, they continue to operate an excellent winery and vineyard location that is enjoyed by many. In addition to wine tastings and sales, they also offer a gift shop, a patio area, occasional events, a wildlife sanctuary, and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Currently, they have two pet-friendly spaces available for RVs under forty-four feet in length, as well as water hookups.

Photo credit: Drink in Life

RVers know that there is no better way to see America than on wheels instead of feet. And Yakima Valley, Washington is a destination worth exploring in an RV! With so much to do and explore — from wine tasting at the wineries of Washington’s wine country to hiking through the surrounding mountains — you may find yourself spending longer here than anticipated thanks to a Harvest Hosts membership. 

Photo credit: The Lodge at Columbia Point

Have you visited Washington’s Yakima Valley? How did you like it? Which wineries did you visit? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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  1. Reinout Schoolderman
    16th September, 2021

    We regularly visit the Yakima area because it’s far away enough to not be at home and close enough to get away from home for a short trip! These wineries are all world class as are the folks who run them. If you are not sure that you want to go there, go there anyway.