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.
When Josh Lawrence joined his father and uncle to work the land the Lawrence family had farmed for nearly a half-century, he wanted the fruits of his labor to be tasted in a glass. So they began Lawrence Vineyards in 2003 with just one block of vines and a single garden gnome for security in the sunny Frenchman Hills bearing the family's name. From there, the planting and production flourished, and today more than a dozen varieties of grapes populate nearly 125 acres of land. For the Lawrences, Gård Vintners was the natural next step, and a host of award-winning wines followed. Today, they invite visitors into their two tasting rooms to sample a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling, and refreshing Rosé with notes of strawberry jam and fresh herbs. Guests may also purchase bottles of their favorite varietal or enjoy glasses of Gard Vintners wine at restaurants throughout the area.
When October rolls around, family-operated Huffman Farms gets very busy. It's not just the autumn harvest that brings people to the 36-acre farm, but also the activities that revolve around the pumpkin patch. Families can pick future jack-o-lanterns from 25 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds. While enjoying the autumn sunshine, they can also slide down the 20-foot straw bale slides or meet friendly farm animals at the petting zoo. Each weekend in October has a different theme, whether its the pumpkin olympics, pumpkin carving, or a farm-wide costume contest. When hunger strikes, families can also indulge in barbecue fresh from the grill or treats such as pumpkin cupcakes, which confer the classic tastes of fall without munching on fallen leaves.
Starting at 850 and rising to an elevation of 3,085 feet, Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail sprawls across a collection of hills that makes up the ninth American Viticultural Area. The collection of wineries produce more than 40 wine varietals—and the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail knows about all of them. With recommendations for local lodging and local eateries, Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail grants visitors passports to help them navigate their way through the oenophile’s playground.
In 1920, rumor had it there was profitable work to be done in the apple orchards of Washington State's Wenatchee Valley. Unfortunately, North Dakotans Marie Resner Hecht and her brothers didn't have money to travel. So, to earn cash for the trip, the trio sold whiskey made from milk whey. Their westward trek took them to a Dryden orchard, where they settled and eventually brought in 52 harvests.
Today, Carol Levi pays homage to Grandma Marie’s industrious spirit, by combining her family’s history of fruit harvesting and liquor distilling at It’s 5 Artisan Distillery. Here, owner Colin Levi helms the process, making each batch using fruits and grains grown in Washington state. Those ingredients yield spirits such as brandy, grappa, whiskey, fruit liqueur, and, most notably, a gin that Heather Larson of Discover Washington State described as having a blend of botanicals including coriander, star anise, and lavender “not found in any other gin.”
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.