We were in the Seattle region a couple weeks back for a wedding and I booked sometime one afternoon to jaunt out to Woodinville (about 20 minutes outside of the city proper) to visit some wineries and enjoy the countryside. Ok, mostly to drink wine.
I was in Seattle last weekend for a wedding and organized a trip for six of us to hit up the Woodinville area of suburban Seattle (about 20 miles/minutes outside of Seattle proper) where Chateau St. Michelle, Columbia Winery, Red Hook Brewery and a couple dozen other wineries have tasting rooms. One of those wineries, Januik Winery, built a beautiful tasting room in conjunction with another winery by the name of Novelty Hill. Of the wineries we visited, I was most impressed with Januik's tasting room & wine, of which I had never heard of or tasted before.
For those of you heading up to Seattle with time to spare and interest in checking out the Washington wine scene, you're in luck. Washington has some great wineries, such as Chateau Ste. Michelle and many small family run wineries. I did a little research on local wineries & wine tasting locations. What I found was some good small tasting opportunities were well within reach. If you only have an afternoon and don't want to leave the confines of beautiful Seattle - take a jaunt to the Tasting Room. If you have a day, take a trip to Woodinville, approx. 30 minutes from Seattle. If you have a couple of days think about a two day drive out to Yakima Valley & Walla Walla for a plethora of options.
The Tasting Room, located in the Pike Place Market Area (Directions: 1924 Post Alley, between Pine & Pike streets; phone: (206) 770-9463), is a cooperative of seven small family run Washington wineries. This is a rustic, comfortable, homely type of venue tucked away in an alley above the popular tourist destination Pike Place Market. Serving wines from Apex, Wineglass Cellars, Harlequin, JM Cellars, Camaraderie Cellars & Wilridge Winery. I highly recommend spending an hour or two here exploring an up & coming group of grapes.
If you want to visit some of the bigger wineries or even some of the family run vineyards, look no further than Woodinville, a short 30 minute (20 miles) drive from Seattle. Woodinville is home to Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery, not to mention the Red Hook Brewery. Chateau Ste. Michelle & Columbia Winery are big operations and the wineries reflect that with big tasting rooms, gift shops and beautiful grounds. You can easily, and happily buy sandwiches or deli items, purchase a bottle of wine and enjoy an afternoon outdoors (assuming the Washington weather permits). Woodinville Directions: Take Highway 520 East to Interstate 405 North, then highway 202 East. You'll want to look at the below site for the winery options and specific directions.
A reasonably priced, solid tasting wine. You can't go wrong with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington's premiere volume grower. Though not as smooth as their Cold Creek vineyards, their 2001 Columbia Valley Merlot is a solid value - and a decent everyday drinking wine. Wine Specataor gave it an 89 rating.