Though its once purely utilitarian features have been repurposed as a modern industrial-chic wine bar, Sunshine Mill Winery is still a monument to turn-of-the-century agriculture. The gravity mill’s belt-drive system, for instance, is still wholly intact, and its massive gears hang above the heads of sommeliers pouring Quenett and Copa Di Vino wines in the lounge area. And atop the structure that still houses the mill’s Thomas Edison–designed electric generator, musicians regularly perform to the crowds on the alfresco dining area below.
Patrons headed to Wind Rivers Cellars must first make a two-mile drive up Spring Creek Road, whose densely forested surroundings lead many first-timers to believe that they've lost their way. But, the doubt soon turns to awe as they arrive at the vineyard and the tree line breaks into a cloud-topped view of Mt. Hood in the distance. The lush scenery complements the winery's 12 wine varieties, each crafted from grapes grown in the Columbia River Gorge and Klickitat County. The winery is owned by winemaker and fourth-generation Washingtonian Joel Goodwillie, who pays careful to attention to environmental practices when managing the estate. During their stay, visitors can peruse the racks of rustic barrels, wander the rows of green grapevines, and sample the wines in a tasting room operated with a standing ban on jazz and grape juggling.
"Come get naked with us." It sounds like an indecent proposal, but it's really a call to action from Naked Winery?specifically a call to grab some of the cheeky winery's offerings. Its winemakers use grapes grown in both hot and dry climates and cool marine climates in Oregon and Washington to produce vintages such as Foreplay chardonnay and the sweet red Blazing Straddle.
The masterminds behind the winery, the Barringer and Michalec families, gave their creations such sassy names partly because of the wines' ability to seduce palates. But they also did it because they loved the idea of couples sipping a glass at night and sharing a laugh over the names and saucy descriptions on the label.
Waving Tree Winery churns out award-winning wines. But instead of using its syrah, orange muscat, and other varietals to fill a delicious moat around the facility, Waving Tree shares them at its tasting room in Kirkland. Here, visitors can immerse themselves into the cozy room's dark tones while tasting Waving Tree's many productions. In between sips, they can also munch on small plates, flip through books, or explore rotating art exhibits showcasing the talents of local artists.
Situated along the famed Columbia River Gorge, Maryhill Winery & Amphitheatre beckons visitors to its picturesque, historic grounds that Wine Press Northwest crowned 2009 Washington Winery of the Year. As guests sample the winery's libations in the tasting room, concertgoers can head to the amphitheater to catch some of their favorite musicians playing alongside a giant raisin wailing on the saxophone.
The accolades accorded several of LaVelle Vineyards' wines in the pages of Wine Enthusiast magazine serves as evidence of the diligent work of founder Doug LaVelle and his son, Matthew, who tends the vines today. After taking over the winery?then one of the oldest in Southern Willamette Valley?in 1994, Doug took it upon himself to make a number of improvements to its antiquated technology and distribution network. He started the wine club in 1995, and just recently opened a brand new wine bar and tap room off of International Way in Springfield called the LaVelle Tap Room. The tap room serves as an in-town location for wine club members, but also to provide a new wine-bar-meets-tap-room experience with more than 30 wines to choose from and several local beers on tap.
Doug's investments paid off. Today, with Matthew as lead winemaker, the winery ferments grapes both from its original Willamette Valley location and another site in the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington. At the rustic Elmira winery, visitors can recline on the sunny deck, tour the winemaking facilities, or outsmart tipsy minotaurs in the garden's labyrinth.