Tasting Great Wines Near Seattle
On a recent trip to Seattle, I was delighted to explore the Woodinville Wine Country, a mere 30 minute drive from downtown. With over 70 wineries to choose from I knew this would be an adventure. Wineries ranged from small boutique spaces and tasting rooms to those with large tasting rooms, merchandise shops and beautiful grounds.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington. I was familiar with some of their sparkling wines but had never tasted their special one, Luxe. Aged for 5 years in the barrel, it is silky and smooth, with bubbles of course. I was surprised to learn that they also have a selection of white and red wines in addition to their sparkling wines. Their grounds are beautiful and spacious with buildings scattered around the 100-acre wooded site. They even have an outdoor amphitheatre where they host a summer concert series. Talk about a magical experience, enjoying live music while drinking wine under the stars on a summer evening.
Their tasting room and merchandise area is large and allows one to enjoy sampling their wines while wandering through their store which has unusual gifts for wine lovers of all ages. They offer tours of their winemaking process several times each day.
The next stop was Columbia Winery, makers of premium wines since 1962. Upon arrival at their tasting room, I felt so welcomed by the beckoning fireplace and comfortable seating. Order a glass of wine and flatbread pizza and enjoy both while sitting beside the fire. For $5 you can choose from five wines to sample, but choosing only five can be a challenge since all of their selections are good. They offer special events for wine club members including a special tasting room. During warm weather, their outdoor patio is an ideal place to sip a glass of wine.
There’s something about wine tasting that always makes me hungry. Fortunately, Red Hook Brewery’s Forecaster’s Public House is nearby and the perfect place for lunch. They serve hearty pub fare along with their own crafted beers, which are refreshing. They also offer brewery tours of their operations. On sunny days the outdoor patio is the place to be.
To turn wine tasting into a weekend escape, stay at Willows Lodge, a boutique hotel with rustic lodge-style accommodations. Never fear, for this is a luxury hotel, and rustic only in the architectural details and materials. They even have a spa on the property and a gourmet restaurant. Did I mention the soaking tub that is big enough for two? You could amuse yourself all weekend at the hotel if it weren’t for the 70 wineries that are waiting to be explored.
Passport for Woodinville, held on April 16-17 2011, is the perfect opportunity to visit many of the wineries that are open only for special events.
Click here for more information about Woodinville Wine Region and the wineries.