The husband-and-wife duo behind Swakane Winery started their wine-making journey humbly enough, making wine for themselves in their own home. They started with blackberries, simply because the fruit is plentiful near their home in southwestern Washington. As their ambition and wine-making skills grew, they purchased a picturesque plot of land overlooking the Columbia River, and spent six years nurturing riesling, cabernet franc, and sauvignon blanc grapes. Today, those grapes are used in eight wines that are crafted at the boutique hillside winery. Sticking true to its roots, the winery offers a blackberry dessert wine alongside floral, citrusy whites and woody, berry-rich reds. The wines are all made from grapes grown onsite or purchased nearby from a feudal-estate-owning French noble. And this focus on local doesn't end with the grapes: works by local artists are featured at the winery's tasting room and bistro in Leavenworth, and on bottles of the signature Swakane Red.
Named one of the top 10 best winery restaurants in the state by Tasting Room Magazine, Chateau Faire Le Pont Winery and the adjoining restaurant provide visitors with a taste of the Northwest, whether it's a hand-crafted wine or a meal that incorporates fresh, seasonal ingredients harvested from nearby farms or the grumpy neighbor's garden. On-site, resident winemakers craft a number of varietals, all made with locally-sourced grapes, and all available for sampling at the rustic tasting room. At the restaurant, chefs prepare gourmet meals, such as grilled ribeye steaks, French onion soup, and an assortment of seafood items, including linguini a la vongole.
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.
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.