Visit Woodinville Wine Country
May 30, 2019
Did you know that when you rent in Bellevue, you’re getting more than just a great place to live in one of the most peaceful cities in the Pacific Northwest? When you call this area home, you’re also putting yourself in close proximity to some of the lesser-discussed perks that come with living here — like the ability to take off and visit fabulous Woodinville Wine Country. What, pray tell, is this magical-sounding paradise all about? As the name suggests, wine is most assuredly on the menu:
“Washington is a powerhouse of grape growth, and the state's wine industry is booming. But since most vineyards are way out east, farther than most will travel for a good drink, wineries have set up satellite outposts, congregating particularly in Woodinville, a short jaunt northeast of Seattle.”
Woodinville is teeming with wineries and tasting rooms, and has proven itself a worthwhile trip for anyone fond of delectable drink. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at what this thriving land of wine has to offer, and provide you with a short list of specific spots you may want to check out when you head there yourself.
Your Introduction to Woodinville
The name is “Woodinville Wine Country,” but Woodinville itself is actually a small city about 12 miles north of Bellevue. Here, there are more than 130 wineries and tasting rooms — ready and waiting for you to enjoy. Looking at Woodinville and its infatuation with wine today, it’s almost hard to imagine that this started as a farming and logging community way back in the 1800s. The serene location, however, and proximity to the metropolis of Seattle seem to have made it an ideal spot for wine to grow.
The catalyst for Woodinville’s “wine explosion” started in 1976, when Chateau Ste. Michelle moved to the area. Shortly thereafter, additional wineries, like Columbia Winery, started to open up in the area, and more wineries continued to pop up in the years that followed. Now, this wine country brings in thousands of visitors every year — fellow wine aficionados like yourself. Perhaps you’ll be making your own journey to this lovely land in the near future? If so, you’ll need to know what awaits.
What Awaits in Wine Country
While it’d be a tall order for us to go over every winery located in and around Woodinville. What we can do today, however, is alert you to some of the most popular wine spots that call Woodinville home, like the aforementioned Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington State’s oldest winery, and was once known as the American Wine Company, before an eventual merger with another winery saw a change in their branding. They operated in Eastern Washington for a time, but moved to a French Chateau in Woodinville in the 1970s, an 87-acre expanse that was once the hunting grounds and farmland of a lumber baron by the name of Frederick Stimson.
Now, years later, Chateau Ste. Michelle is still known for the high quality of their wines, particularly their fine Rieslings, of which they produce 8,000,000 cases every year. Should you plan on checking them out, you’ll find them right a 14111 NE 145th Street. Catch them on a good day in the summer, and you might even be able to spy an outdoor concert taking place at their stylish amphitheater.
Next up is Columbia Winery, which is actually owned by E & J Gallo. The winery, which started as Associated Vinters in 1962, was created by professors at the University of Washington, and had a claim to fame by employing notable winemaker David Lake for many years to serve as their head winemaker. Under his guidance, Columbia Winery became the first in Washington to produce varietal wines of Cabernet Franc, Pinot gris and Syrah. Today, more than 50 years after their founding, they’re still going strong, and you can find them at 14030 NE 145th Street.
We should also give a nod to one of the smaller wineries — Gorman — for their dedication to producing fabulous varieties of red wine with hard-to-forget names like Evil Twin, Big Sissy, and Bully. It’s all the vision of founder Chris Gorman, a veteran winemaker with more than a quarter-century of experience, and an unparalleled dedication to getting the best grapes to make the best wines his team can muster. You’ll find them at 14505 NE 148th Avenue, if you’re interested.
And if you want to know more about the myriad other wineries that exist in Woodinville, you need only check out their member listing, which provides an overview of many of the great options that exist in wine country. No doubt you’ll find a few that fit your fancy, and be tempted to check them out in person.
Events in Woodinville Wine Country
Special events in Woodinville are hardly an uncommon sight, but perhaps one of the most popular things for visitors here is the “Passport to Woodinville.” This is a creative way to get access to all sorts of wineries and tastings:
“Passport to Woodinville Wine Country 2019 is your ticket to one of the world’s premier wine and craft beverage destinations. Taste award-winning wine, beer and spirits in a single weekend, or month-after-month throughout 2019.”
And if the Passports are sold out, you can also inquire about the similar Woodinville Wine Pass, which grants access to various tasting and tour opportunities that you’re sure to enjoy. So, what are you waiting for? Learn more, and plan that trip up to Woodinville soon — summer is just around the corner!
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