Voted Best Tasting Room in the West by Sunset magazine, The Tasting Room works hard to dazzle palates both rookie and oenophile with the best Washington wines, as well as with hard-to-find vintages, limited editions, and artisan varietals. Tastes typically range between $2 and $6 an ounce, with full glasses starting at $4, and showcase pours from Wilridge Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, and other local purveyors. Indecisive imbibers, meanwhile, can take the stress out of decision-making by choosing a wine flight ($5–$15), a simpler and less terrifying alternative to the wine skydive.
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.
With the help of his uncle Tom Campbell, who just happens to be a seasoned enologist and viticulturist, Bijal Shah and his wife Sinead founded The Woodhouse Wine Estates in 2004. The winery's vintages are brought to life by Jean Claude Beck, whose winemaking genes reach back to Alsace, France, where his family estate has been crafting wine since 1579. The team at Woodhouse focuses on expressing the unique terroir of each grape’s origin, yielding balanced, mature wines marked by full flavors. Inside the tasting room, chandeliers sparkle over a long bar, where visitors can sip pours of any number of select wines.
Located in the heart of the Woodinville wine country, winemaker Aryn Morell focuses on the creation of bordeaux style and single varietal vineyard-designated wines using grapes grown in Washington State. A diverse selection of wines, from sauvignon blanc to cabernet, embodies the unique affinity between the hills, vines, and winegrowers of Washington state. Matthews Estate Winery also accommodates guests in an on-site bed and breakfast, and performers often play live music to accompany tastings and special events.
Opening Covington Cellars was a natural step for David and Cindy Lawson—he loved home winemaking, she loved pushing the boundaries of her home kitchen. Eventually, they decided to turn their hobbies into something larger. David enrolled at UC Davis to study enology (the study of seminal winemaker Brian Eno) while Cindy expanded her knowledge of cooking and wine at culinary schools around the country. Today, the two oversee a diverse line of wines and a locally sourced, seasonal menu to match. They also share their enthusiasm with visitors during winemaking events, tours, dinners, and bottle-smashing parties.
Woodinville Wine Tastings unites four wineries that sit within a pleasant walk of each other. At Davenport Cellars, patrons may sip cabernet sauvignon aged in French oak beneath impressionist oil paintings of natural landscapes. John Patterson of Patterson Cellars lets more than two decades of experience shine through in swirling elixirs, and red blends at Pondera Winery show a range of crimson shades like a bull’s anger-management counselor. Bordeaux grapes from a handful of Columbia Valley vineyards mingle in the shop’s cuvee, and guests at William Church Winery stroll beneath walnut-hued barrels, clicking together glasses of a pinot gris that hints at lemon zest and green apples.
Every time he begins a new handcrafted batch, winemaker Philip Coates strives to bring out the elemental flavors of his Washington-grown grapes. A limited production schedule lets Philip and his team spend more time on each varietal, de-stemming grapes by hand before fermenting batches with native yeasts and aging them in french oak barrels. Next, they fill, cork, and wax each bottle by hand before applying labels designed by local artists.
Though his repertoire has grown since 21 Cellars’ inception in 2003, Philip’s specialty remains bordeaux varietals, including a 2009 malbec and the 2006 Pont 21 cabernet sauvignon, which _Seattle _ magazine deemed Washington’s top new wine of 2011. Alongside wine by the bottle, staffers pour samples of current wines at weekly tastings at Anthem Coffee and the 21 Cellars’ own tasting room—a cozy grotto lined with oak barrels.