Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Woodinville Washington Wine Tour

On a recent sunny summer day I had the pleasure of taking a Woodinville Washington wine tasting tour.  Although I've visited several of the wineries before, the last time was several years ago and I was amazed at how many new wineries have been added.  With a total of around 100 wine tasting rooms, I obviously couldn't visit all of them in one day!

Entrance to the Chateau Ste Michelle Winery - Woodinville, WA

The grapes for Washington wines are grown in vineyards east of the Cascade Mountain Range in the more arid part of the state, but many of the wineries have opened tasting rooms in the Woodinville area to bring the wine closer to Seattle and the more densely populated Puget Sound region.

Where is the Woodinville Wine Country?

No visit to the Woodinville Wine Country is complete without stopping by the gorgeous grounds of Chateau Ste Michelle.

Grape vines in Woodinville, WA
Although the beautiful grounds of Ste Michelle have grapes growing, they are for landscaping effect only and not used to make wine.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Tasting Room - Woodinville, WA
Built in 1976 on the estate formerly owned by Pacific Northwest Timber Baron Frederick Stimson, Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington State's oldest winery and was also the first to have a presence in the Woodinville area.

Columbia Winery Entrance
Right across the road from Chateau Ste. Michelle is the entrance to Columbia Winery, another of the  first wineries to locate in the Woodinville area.

Columbia Winery - Woodinville, WA
Columbia's grounds and tasting room are lovely as well, although instead of a brick-covered French Country Estate, the building is more in a light and airy Cape Cod style.

Hollywood Schoolhouse
The old Hollywood School building is home to several winery tasting rooms and is rented out for events including weddings.

Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Among the wineries in the Hollywood School complex is the Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

Gorman Winery
Across the street from Hollywood Schoolhouse is the Gorman winery.

Mark Ryan Winery

Kitty-corner from Hollywood School is a strip mall that includes several more tasting rooms including Mark Ryan Winery.....

Sparkman Cellars Tasting Room - Woodinville, WA
 Sparkman Cellars.....

DeLille Cellars - Woodinville, WA
and DeLille Cellars.  There are numerous other winery tasting rooms along and near Highway 202 - also known as the Woodinville-Redmond Road.

Matthews Winery Tasting Room - Woodinville, WA
The Matthews Winery tasting room may not have as an impressive exterior, but don't let the outside deter you from stopping.  Inside you can taste some of Washington's best Bordeaux-style wines.

To enjoy a day of wine tasting in Woodinville, it is essential to have a designated driver, hire a cab or town car driver or sign up for a Woodinville Wine Country Tour.  Tour operators pick up and return guests to most hotels in downtown Seattle.  For those who would prefer overnight accommodations in the the more pastoral Woodinville, Willows Lodge offers a convenient wine tour guest package.

 For those taking a cruise with a departure, arrival or stop in Seattle, a tour of the Woodinville Wine Country can easily be booked as a shore excursion with convenient pick-up and return to the cruise ship dock.

For RVers, the nearest RV Park is Lake Pleasant RV Park about 5 miles away in Bothell, WA.
Redhook Brewery - Woodinville, WA
If you would rather drink beer, nearby Redhook Brewery offers tours and beer tasting.

Woodinville Whiskey Company - Woodinville, WA 
Or, if you prefer whiskey, the Woodinville Whiskey Company is one of several distillers offering tours and tastings, too.

After stopping at about 6 wineries I skipped the whiskey and beer and had my designated driver take me back home to take a nap!  Obviously I will need to take a few more tours to hit all of the wineries. Have  you been to the Woodinville Wine Country?  Feel free to share your favorite winery to help me prioritize which ones to visit next time.

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