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.
Sassafras, sarsaparilla, and vanilla: above all, these are the flavors celebrated by The Root Beer Store, which is chock-full of root beers from around the country. Owner Corey Anderson grew up making root beer with his dad, generating his admiration for root-beer culture. Anderson was featured on King 5 for his passion for the soft drink, which manifests in his selection of more than 100 types from craft root-beer makers. From Hawaii to Maine to Australia, the creativity of each brewer shines in the collection, which customers browse with visions of ice cubes and ice cream to accompany them. The staff is on hand to help home brewers make their own soda with root-beer kits, extracts from different brewers, and the lyrics to the chant sung to the root-beer lord before starting each batch.
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.
Years ago, Derrick and Donna Smith began brewing a quartet of ales together, the steaming vats of barley filling their small facility with steam. They quickly gained the attention of beer drinkers and critics and expanded into a 10,000-square-foot space. There, they invite you to check out new craft brews such as Classic Nut Brown Ale, Bold Belgian Pale Ale, and Seasonal Citrus Wit. Rotating seasonal suds fill the recognizable frog-emblazoned bottles with beers whose flavors vary with the season. Derrick and Donna offer clients a peek inside their operation with tours and tastings.
The neighborhood wine shop's cellar-like interior surrounds guests with stacked bottles of world-class wines, waiting to grace café tables during leisurely tasting tours. Approachable staff decants jewel-toned potables while patrons send each of six selections gliding across tongues like a competitive ballroom dancer in banana-peel slippers. Depending on the tasting, guests pair their favorite varietal with a selection of cheeses such as brie or swiss, specialty meats, or nonedible, but still enjoyable crystal. Those opting for an at-home tasting wow guests with a 12-bottle cellar pack of Robert Mondavi wines, enough for a generous 15-person tasting or a raucous 30-person gargling tournament.
Not many distilleries would invite their customers to bring in their great-great-grandfather's moonshine recipe so they can try to reproduce it. But at Dry County Distillery, community, attention to detail, and something called "alcohol" are the not-so-secret ingredients that go into every bottle. Owned by the Johnston family, the small distillery focuses on quality instead of quantity while crafting small batches of vodka and gin. And that focus is paying off—Sip Northwest Magazine recently crowned their Black Rope Anise liqueur as "Best Herbal" in the region.