Sky River Meadery turns honey into wine, or mead to be exact. Since 1997, the meadery has produced its own award-winning blends of mead, a fermented-honey beverage that has been lauded for centuries for its subtly sweet taste. Thought to bring strength, wit, and poetry, Mead was the drink of many ancient kings and poets. Sky River, which is owned and operated by women, introduces guests to its meads in a large onsite tasting room. There, customers can experience the sweet, dry, and raspberry-enhanced meads, finished with a touch of berries, apples, and grassy notes, which pair well with curries, ginger, and salsas.
Sky River Meadery also showcases local art in its gallery space, offers other bee products?including candles and honey?and encourages picnicking among the gardens and display bee hives.
The bracing Italian-style brandy known as grappa flows from a vintage hammered-copper still and into oak barrels for aging at Soft Tail Spirits, a craft distillery that gathers its grape pressings from local Washington wineries. An Old-World still's 58,000-BTU burners boil up fresh batches of grappa, with characters of pear and apple-tinged Giallo and the pleasingly grainy sangiovese. Meanwhile, a multistep distillation process whips up batches of Soft Tail Spirits' sipping vodka, the slightly rebellious offspring of Washington State apples that took home the bronze at the 2010 World Spirits Competition in San Francisco. Lead distiller Matthew welcomes visitors to the distillery for tours in which he shows off the facility, including the hammered-copper alembic he affectionately calls “Maggie,” before doling out samples and bestowing grappa converts with souvenir glassware for future bacchanalian feasts or Flat Earth Society meetings.
From their winery in Walla Walla to their tasting room in Woodinville, Ed Dudley and his team of Patit Creek Cellars demonstrate their devotion to artisan wine. They carefully select and squish grapes to produce their flagship style of Cabernet Sauvignon, which carefully balances savory and fruit profiles, and the Merlot, which pins aromas of black cherry and chocolate with undertones of dried herbs. They also fill glasses with white varieties that include Chardonnay and a dry Riesling.
In their winery?s tasting room, which boasts a breezy covered patio, patrons sample new releases and sip wines by the glass when not creating symphonies with the glasses? rims.
Corks and Canvas Events, like a work of fine art, came about by pairing a good idea with a passion to create. The founders both came from the marketing world, where they spent their days devising campaigns and events to inspire their audiences to take action. A shared love for art and wine inspired them to bend their action-creating talents toward a new goal?hosting painting and wine events in area wineries and wine bars, allowing guests to "uncork their creativity" and promote the burgeoning Washington wine industry in a social setting.
Their idea took the form of Corks and Canvas Events, where experienced artists lead guests step-by-step through the painting creation process. Guests re-create various paintings, everything from lush vineyard scenes to preening roosters, while sipping on glasses of local wines.
DeLille Cellars' grape-transforming staff concocts myriad French-style wines, including varieties served at the White House and named the 2011 Wine of the Year by Seattle magazine. During the tasting experience, enthusiasts and neophytes can tickle their taste buds by sampling six wines crafted with wrath-free grapes from Washington state. Guests can cleanse their palates between wine samples by nibbling on squeaky morsels from an artisan cheese tray or quickly repeating "big black bear" three times. An astute wine educator will be on hand to discuss topics ranging from DeLille vintages to Washington's wine industry to international grape creations. Located about a quarter-mile from DeLille Cellars, the Carriage House Tasting Room boasts wine-barrel tables and candlelight wall fixtures that unlock a secret passageway to a light-bulb retailer.