Washington State is the second largest wine producer in the U.S. with 900 wineries, 350-plus grape growers, and 50,000 acres of grapevines. Most of the vineyards are located in the eastern part of the state where the Cascade Mountains protect them from the moist maritime conditions of Seattle. Here, in the Columbia Valley, in places like Horse Heaven Hills, Walla Walla, and Rattlesnake Hills, the warmer, sunnier climate and sandy, gravelly soil is just right for grape-growing.
This vast area has a lot to offer visitors in terms of natural beauty, with rolling hills of farmland and spectacular vistas of the Columbia River flowing through the mountains. For wine lovers, exploring the AVAs of eastern Washington is a great way to see first-hand what makes these wines so darn good. But keep in mind that the wineries are spread out over large distances and if you’re visiting Seattle, you would need at least another five to seven days to properly explore the area.
This is where Woodinville Wine Country steps in and saves the day! Located a quick 25 minute drive from Seattle, Woodinville has a Washington state wine scene like no other. You don’t go here for vineyard views — you go to taste wine. In Woodinville, you’ll experience a proud community of vintners pouring their celebrated wines in welcoming tasting rooms, all close to one another. Every wine appellation is represented and after a day or two spent in Woodinville, you’ll have discovered some new Washington wine favorites, met a lot of great people and made lifelong memories — with lots of cool Instagram posts to prove it!
TOP TASTING EXPERIENCES IN WOODINVILLE
Click on the link to each winery to find out tasting room addresses, hours and fees. The first six tasting rooms/wineries listed below are within a 5 minute walk or drive from each other.
Chateau Ste. Michelle – This is the winery that put Washington State wines on the map and is a must-stop. The brand new visitors center offers a variety of tasting experiences and you can bring a picnic and enjoy relaxing on the beautiful grounds afterwards. The winery also hosts a summer concert series on the property.
DeLille Cellars – Delille Winery, one of the most highly regarded Washington State wineries, is partnering with Sparkman Cellars to open tasting rooms this year in the old Redhook Brewery building in the heart of Woodinville. Joining them is theatrical dinner experience Teatro ZinZanni. In the meantime, DeLille offers tastings of their limited production wines in their “Carriage House Tasting Room,” 1/4 mile north of the DeLille Cellars' Chateau.
Januik/Novelty Hill – These two wineries share a super sleek, modern building with indoor and outdoor hosting areas. They offer pizza every weekend along with different tasting experiences. A fun water feature allows you to race corks and makes for surprisingly tense wagers after that third bottle of rose!
Mark Ryan – A rising star, Mark Ryan is quickly becoming known for his phenomenal, bold red wines. Located right in the heart of Woodinville, this tasting room visit is a treat.
Dusted Valley – Two couples from Wisconsin are realizing their dream of making Washington state wine in Walla Walla and their tasting room, located next door to Mark Ryan, is entirely Midwestern hospitality.
àMaurice Cellars – This Walla Walla winery is doing some VERY cool things right now with winemaker Anna Schafer crafting beautifully elegant wines.
The following three tasting rooms are within a few blocks of each other in the Warehouse District, perhaps the hottest spot for wine tasting in Woodinville with dozens of boutique wineries stationed in a hip, industrial-feeling area.
Patterson Cellars- Enjoy amazing food and wine pairing experiences at the Patterson Warehouse District tasting room – beautiful cheese boards with an array of different wines, including sparkling. Patterson has a few other tasting rooms, including one in Seattle in the SoDo Urban Works building that houses about a dozen other wineries.
W.T. Vintners – Owned by restaurant RN74 Beverage Director Jeff Lindsay-Thorson, beautiful, restrained wines are being made here.
Avennia – In a newer section of the warehouse district, the wines are made by the ultra-talented Chris Peterson who was a winemaker at DeLille for 10 years. The focus is on grape varieties used in Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WOODINVILLE
Visit WoodinvilleWineCountry.com to find out what, besides wine, the buzz is all about: restaurants, coffee shops, distilleries, breweries, lodging, outdoor activities, the summer concert series and more. You’ll also find information on transportation to and within Woodinville and maps showing the locations of all the tasting rooms and wineries.
WINE CHEF RECOMENDATION: WHERE TO STAY IN WOODINVILLE
After all that wine tasting, who wants to drive even the short distance back to Seattle? Relax and stay overnight at Willows Lodge, a luxurious 4-star hotel with a restaurant, spa, and beautiful gardens and courtyards.
Spending time in Seattle? Check out The Wine Chef’s “Seattle For Food and Wine Lovers.”