Ok, first of all.. I am slightly biased, since I live in Washington and a supporter of local businesses. However, in recent years it seems I have made more trips to California wine country than to Washington wine country. Really, I am just a fan of wine – California, Washington, Oregon, France, etc. Good wine is good wine. There are some California wines that are so delicious, goose bumps run up and down my arms, than there are Washington wines that blow me away. No matter what region you are a fan of, you must visit wineries. You gain a whole new perspective on your favorite wines. The best thing about visiting wineries, is the history you receive. You learn all sorts of fun facts about that specific winery, as well as tasting wines you cannot find in your local grocery store. Plus, you spend all day tasting wine. How fun is that!
I want to tell you my top favorite wineries (as of this moment), but there are still thousands more that I have not been too. Since this is my blog however, I am going to let you in on some wineries you probably have not heard of and must check out. I will divide this into two parts. Washington is first, then California (within the next week). I know you are all busy, with short attention spans, so I didn’t want to make this a long, drawn out blog.
A few Washington wine facts:
In Washington, there are over 500 wineries and is the second largest producer of wine in the US (can you guess who is first). Washington wines really started to take off in the early 1980′s – and the quality rivals many California and Old World wines. Washington has 11 wine regions within the state. Northwest, Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound/Woodinville, Southwest, North Central, Yakima, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Spokane.
So, now you have an extremely brief history – now here is the fun part, 5 wineries you must visit – According to Carolyn!
1. Tefft Cellars, Woodinville/Outlook
Outlook: 1302 Independence Road, Outlook WA 98938
Woodinville: 16110 Woodinville Redmond Rd, Woodinville WA
My first visit to Tefft was 6 years ago in Outlook, WA. I was impressed by their wines. Not my favorite, but consistent and nice. The winery itself is beautiful. They also have a Guest House you can rent. A couple of years ago, they opened a tasting room in Woodinville. Which is a spacious, Italian-themed room, which you can also rent for private parties. They don’t charge a tasting fee, and want you lounge in their over sized couches, while tasting anywhere between 5-10 wines. They really make you feel special and don’t rush you. I have to add that the quality of their wine has increased and is closely becoming a favorite of mine.
2.) Windy Point Vineyards, Wapato
420 Windy Point Drive, Wapato WA 98951
View, View, View!! Holy cow, Windy Point has an amazing location on top of a hilltop in Wapato, where you gaze upon Yakima Valley, orchards and Cascade mountains. Plus, they make some fabulous Syrah’s and Cab Franc’s (first place I ever had a Cab Franc). It is a little off the main road, but worth taking this detour for the view and outstanding wines.
3.) Pontin del Roza, Prosser
35502 North Hinzerling Road, Prosser WA 99350
509-786-4449 (no website)
For me, this winery is similar to those wineries I visited in France – Family run, vines in their backyard, tastings in their home (well, a trailer next to their home), with cats, dogs and various other animals running around. They are very welcoming with picnic facilities available for you. Nothing fancy, but a family feel attraction. Pontin wine has to be one of my favorite’s from Washington, and priced right as well.
4.) DeLille Cellars, Woodinville
14421 Woodinville-Redmond Road, Woodinville, WA 98072 (this is for their tasting room)
DeLille Cellars, hands down, makes top-notch wines. Although, you pay the price for top-notch wines. If you cannot afford a DeLille wine, you at least need to visit the tasting room. As you taste it, you can feel the hard work and passion they put into their wines. Most of DeLille’s grapes come from Red Mountain (not all however). Red Mountain is known for killer Cabs.
5.) Wineglass Cellars, Zillah
260 North Bonair Road, Zillah WA 98953
So, I saved the best for last. My most favorite winery (and wine for that matter). You must bring a picnic to this tasting, you will be here for a while (unless you come on one of their pizza nights, then they will supply you with plenty of pizza). You may also want to think about biking to this winery, as the website gives you directions on a bike loop! Biking, driving, running, however you get to Wineglass, there is not a bad wine in the bunch. I cannot even begin to tell you a favorite, I love them all (which I why I belong to their wine club!)
I am not trying to be exclusive; there are many wineries I have enjoyed visiting, and more I dream of seeing - and will someday. These 5 stand out in my mind as wineries worth the trip. Do you have a favorite Washington winery? Let me know!
ps – some of my facts came from the book Wine Trails of Washington by Steve Roberts