On the 2006 tasting trip, Pepper Bridge was our first winery visit. February is a slow month (except for the Valentine's Wine & Chocolate event the wineries host), so some of the wineries weren't open, and the ones that were open were not crowded. We were the only visitors to Pepper Bridge while we were there and the nice lady pouring the wine (main picture) was full of information about the winery, the wine maker and the owners. It was a very nice place to start. They also have a lovely view out the back with lavendar bushes, vineyards, and the Cascade Mts. in the background. (2nd picture)
The winery is housed in an old schoolhouse built in 1915. Their FREE tastings are generous (several whites and reds). The staff is very pleasant, welcoming and knowledgable. The school house facility is beautiful and interesting. And, if you forget to bring your reading glasses, they have basket for customers to use. See the lovely photo below : )
In additon to their excellent Cabs, each year they produce a wine which used to be called "School House Red", but due to some confusion with a winery in California having a wine with the same name, L'ecole hs renamed their wine "Recess Red". This wine is made from a blend of the hard press fractions of each of the vineyard lots and varietels and the wines not selected for premium bottlings. It sells for less than $20 and is quite popular and delicious. It sells out in the Seattle wine stores, but you can get it from the web site or at the winery.
Another unique feature that ties in with the school house theme is that the top of the tasting counter is made out of chalkboard, and chalk is provided for tasters to draw pictures, etc. See 3rd photo for a lovely drawing made by my friend, Coop.
The Whitman Mission National Historic Site
An important stopping site along the Oregon Trail, you can see a nifty little slide show at the park's main building and hear about Marcus Whitman and the Whitman Massacre. Walk up the hill and see a fantastic view of the valley. Also has foundation sites for where the original buildings were, with a push-button voice explanation.
Summer Downtown Farmer's Market (May through October 8am - Noon)
Great local stuff being sold by great local folks. LOTS of produce (Yes, there's other produce grown around here besides onions!) along with some hand-made products. While you browse, you can enjoy the live music and possibly some yummy sweet onion sausages or very tasty thai food!