Did you know that Washington is America’s second-largest premium wine-producing state, with an annual production of 16 million cases? Given the close proximity of Washington State to Vancouver, I decided to check out a few of the wineries in Woodinville I have been hearing so much about, and it only took 2.5 hours from Vancouver to get there.
Boasting 108 wineries and tasting rooms, amazing restaurants and the Woodinville Whiskey company, this beautiful town is a must visit for a quick jaunt down south.
Here are five places you must check out in Washington wine country.
This stunning award-winning French style winery hosts an outstanding summer concert series, in addition to its production of delicious Cabernet Sauvignons, Rieslings and Syrahs (my personal favourites). As Washington State’s oldest winery, its rich history and beautiful grounds should be at the very top of your must visit list. Be sure to get on their summer concert series email list so you don’t miss out next year as they sell out quickly. They also host culinary events, holiday events and wine tastings throughout the year.
A sleek contemporary winery with an exquisite tasting room and expansive gardens, it’s no wonder hundreds of weddings and private events are hosted on the grounds of this ultra modern winery annually. You can choose to enjoy a wine flight for tasting or select one of your favourite wines from their menu (mine was the 2013 Red Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon), grab a ‘to-go’ cheese plate or one of their mouth-watering pizzas and sit out on their charming garden patio. You will swear you’re in Napa.
Even if you aren’t a huge wine fan, you will still enjoy a weekend getaway to Woodinville. The Woodinville Whiskey Company is right in the heart of the wineries and is a popular destination for locals and visitors from afar. Take a tour of their distillery and stay awhile to enjoy a tasting, the ambiance and quaint eatery. Their whiskies have been winning ‘best in class’ and first place gold in a multitude of spirit competitions for years. Warning: if you’ve never tried whiskey, you will leave converted.
Founded in 1962 by 10 friends, Columbia Winery has a great room for delicious food, gifts and plenty of wine. It is a beautiful and unique winery located across the street from Chateau Ste. Michelle and close to the Woodinville Whiskey Company. A great winery to visit if you have a big group of people or even are bringing the kids along (there were a few sleepers in strollers).
Located directly across the street from Chateau Ste. Michelle is the internationally renowned Herbfarm Restaurant, winner of AAA’s 5 Diamond Award and “#1 Destination Restaurant in the World” (National Geographic Traveler). The restaurant is nestled at Willows Lodge, and offers a unique multi-course dining experience (with wine pairings) which is finalized only hours before dinner time so the culinary team can take advantage of fresh ingredients, including produce and herbs harvested daily in Herbfarm’s own kitchen garden.
Where to stay
The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland. This charming hotel is a 5 minute walk from the waterfront and right in the heart of shops, restaurants and cafes. Visit ‘Homegrown’ for lunch and take advantage of the free car service care of the hotel which zipped us to Chateau Ste. Michelle to watch the Counting Crows concert. The hotel also offers vouchers for a free cruise of Lake Washington and is situated very close to the Woodinville wineries. Did I also mention they have free WiFi, free bikes, and the dreamiest bed you will ever sleep in?