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, 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.comfor a full list of wineries and touring maps. If you plan to spend a day or two in Woodinville, consider picking up a Passport to Woodinville Wine Country for $75. It includes a standard wine tasting at more than 60 participating wineries and tasting rooms (www.woodinvillewinecountry.com/passport).
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 include a chateau) are available daily there's also a tasting room. Check the website for special events like dinners and concerts.www.ste-michelle.com
Columbia Winery is another major player with a grand house anchoring its winery. Columbia’s tasting room is open daily for regular tastings and private tastings. www.columbiawinery.com
Novelty Hill-Januik is often described as the most Napa-esque experience in Woodinville. The tasting room for these sister wineries is sleek and modern and brick-oven pizza is available on weekends.www.noveltyhilljanuik.com
DeLille Cellars 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 daily.www.delillecellars.com
Mark Ryan 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.www.markryanwinery.com
The Woodinville Warehouse District is a collective of dozens of wineries, breweries and distilleries around Woodinville. Print out a map for a self-guided tour if you want to explore the area www.woodinvillewinecountry.com/wine/maps.
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 . The hotel's restaurant, The Barking Frog, is also superb. For a simpler meal with an equally intense focus on wine, check out the Woodinville outpost of the Purple Café and Wine Bar.
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