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.
"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.
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.
Sourcing grapes from the vineyards of the lush Columbia Valley AVA and the Columbia River Gorge, Jacob Williams Winery’s vintners produce about 2,000 cases of award-winning wine each year. Owner Brad Gearhart and winemaker John Haw combine their talents to create varietals including the 2007 cabernet sauvignon, winner of Best Red Wine at the 2010 Northwest Wine Summit, as well as a runner-up for Miss Congeniality. Jacob Williams accommodates all palates with its other offerings, which include zinfandel, a reserve syrah, and a red blend named Sadie Red, after the family dog.
The winery’s new tasting room overlooks vineyards, the Columbia River, and perfectly spaced cherry and peach orchards under the shadow of majestic Mount Hood. During warmer months, sippers can sample blends while sitting at the outdoor patio’s rustic wood tables. Those hoping to stock up on the vineyard’s stellar creations can join the wine club, which offers perks such as a 30% discount, invitations to special events, and a complimentary tasting for up to four guests.
Atop 30 acres of complex volcanic soils, Robert Morus tends his collection of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes planted against a backdrop of towering, snow-capped mountains. Embracing the labor-intensive process necessary to harvest flavorful grapes, Morus and his staff allow vines to only grow a single grape cluster per shoot. This technique gives each fruity morsel an intense flavor character and prevents grapes from getting overcrowded, jumping off the vine, and joining a troupe of singing raisins. First planted in 1989, the plots now fill sustainably-tended vineyards where visitors can come to learn more about the wine-making process during tours, wine tastings, and other events.