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.
Kestrel Vintners' two 80-acre vineyard sites furnish wines culled from a collection of dark, rich reds and crisp, fruity whites—all created and housed within the 15,000-square-foot winery ziggurat. Inside the tasting rooms, guests can sip on an evolving selection of six samplings, with offerings that may include the Lady in Red 9th Edition blend, juxtaposing dark, fruity flavors with rich spice and cedar, or the bright and citrusy 2009 Falcon Series sauvignon blanc. Drinkables are paired with a charcuterie plate, featuring a selection of cheese and cured meats arranged to resemble Italy's boot kicking a giant meatball. Visitors will take home two souvenir glasses to commemorate their grape-fueled adventure, and will receive 20% off any wines available for purchase at the time of their visit.
The grape growers at Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards, a small boutique winery and vineyard, squash out smashing wines from their estate and designated vineyards across Washington, boasting several award-winning creations. From their on-site, southwest-facing vineyard, the assiduous agriculturalists plant and maintain their pretan raisins, organically using sustainable growing practices and generous slatherings of sunblock.