Walla Walla wine country is too far to go from Seattle if you've only got a few days; instead, check out Woodinville's excellent wineries. It's only about 22 miles from Seattle's city center. You'll need a car unless you sign up for a guided tour. Check out www.woodinvillewinecountry.com for a full list of wineries and touring maps.
There are more than 50 wineries in Woodinville, though most of them don't have tasting rooms. This list provides a good survey, from the big guys to the smallest boutique producers:
Chateau Ste. Michelle is the grande dame of the Woodinville wine scene, and perhaps the most recognizable name nationwide. Guided tours of the winery and grounds (which do include a chateau) are available daily 10:30-4:30. The tasting room is open daily 10-5. Check the website for special events like dinners and concerts.
Columbia Winery is another major player with a grand house anchoring its winery. Columbia's tasting room is open Sunday-Tuesday 11-6 and Wednesday-Saturday 11-7. Regular tastings are $10 and private tastings are available for $25 per person.
Novelty Hill-Januik (14710 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. NE www.noveltyhilljanuik.com) is often described as the most Napa-esque experience in Woodinville. The tasting room (open daily 11-5) for these sister wineries is sleek and modern. Themed tastings are $7-$10 per person. Brick-oven pizza is available on weekends.
DeLille Cellars (14221 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. NE www.delillecellars.com) is on the list of nearly every fancy restaurant in Seattle. Most recently it's garnered national acclaim for the predominantly cab-sauv blend Chaleur Estate. The Carriage House tasting room, slightly north of the winery, is open Sunday-Thursday noon-4:30, Friday noon-7 and Saturday 11-4:30.
Mark Ryan (14810 NE 145th St., #A-1 www.markryanwinery.com) is an indie winery that has earned praise nationwide for its use of mostly Red Mountain AVA grapes—especially for the Dead Horse reds. The winery has a small tasting room open daily 12–5.
Ross Andrew (14810 NE 145th St, #A-2 www.rossandrewwinery.com) is a newcomer that is already at the top of many enthusiasts' lists for cabs and syrah from Columbia Valley grapes and pinot blanc and pinot gris from Oregon grapes. The tasting room (next door to Mark Ryan) is open Thursday-Monday 12-5 (Saturday until 6).
Woodinville Warehouse Wineries (www.woodwarewine.com) is a collective of all the wineries, breweries and distilleries in and around Woodinville. "Wine Walk" tastings are held on first and third Thursdays for $20 (BYOG, or bring your own glass). Producers and themed tastings vary; check the website for details.
Dining and Lodging
One of the swankiest hotels in the Puget Sound region, Willows Lodge (www.willowslodge.com) is only a few minutes away from the major wineries and next door to destination restaurant the Herbfarm (reservations are essential). See full reviews for details. For a simpler meal with an equally intense focus on wine, check out the Woodinville outpost of the Purple Café and Wine Bar (14459 Woodinville Redmond Rd. NE).
Updated by Allison Ellis
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