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.
Stan Barrett already had a winery and a passion for French cuisine when, in 2002, he found himself in need of a winemaker. He found Sean Boyd, who had worked at wineries in France, New Zealand, and around the world. As of today, Boyd's favorite part of the wine-making process is the final blending stage, when he gets to tap into his creative side and combine fermented juices into their final state. He still learns new techniques and oversees every step of production at Woodinville Wine Cellars, where the staff specializes in crafting small-batch, additive-free wines using only grapes sourced from Washington vineyards. They let the wines age for up to 18 months in French oak barrels, which allows them plenty of time to take on complex flavors and read Madame Bovary.
It's this dedication to detail that has earned Boyd various accolades for more than a dozen wines, including the deep cabernet sauvignon, peppery rose, and rich Last Man Standing malbec. Over time, the selection has included more than 45 styles, some of which are produced only rarely. Most of the small batches that are currently available, though, are uncorked during tastings at the winery's creek-side tasting room. Barrett also owns Art Culinaire, the North American importer of Lacanche ranges.
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.
Seattle's bustling Pike Place Market might be the last place you'd expect to find an authentic European-style wine cave. But that's exactly what guests to The Tasting Room Seattle find at this tasting cellar nestled between Stewart and Virginia Streets. But while the elegant surrounds might feel distinctly European, the vintages all hail from much closer to home. All of the wines served at this shop––and its sister location in Yakima Valley––come from Washington producers, and each winery featured (Harlequin Wine Cellars and Wilridge Winery, to name a few) is winemaker-owned. To help customers become acquainted with the artisan wines from their home state, the staff offers tastings of current releases and a few library wines, and presents a selection of salumi and cheeses from around the world, with recommendations for pairing or dunking.
For more than 30 years, Blue Sky Outfitters has been equipping rafters to barrel down rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Whether floating past bald eagles on the the still waters of the Skagit River or plummeting down the 14-foot Husum Falls, the company's whitewater rafts—helmed by capable pilots—meander through wildlife that stuns with the power of a beautiful, inspiring electric fence. For land-bound trips, adventurers can strap on snowshoes and journey through the Leavenworth Valley, or peer through the wide windows of the Adventure Bus as it journeys through wine country. All whitewater trips include a barbecue meal with sirloin, corn on the cob, potato salad, and a deep sense of satisfaction.