The bracing Italian-style brandy known as grappa flows from a vintage hammered-copper still and into oak barrels for aging at Soft Tail Spirits, a craft distillery that gathers its grape pressings from local Washington wineries. An Old-World still's 58,000-BTU burners boil up fresh batches of grappa, with characters of pear and apple-tinged Giallo and the pleasingly grainy sangiovese. Meanwhile, a multistep distillation process whips up batches of Soft Tail Spirits' sipping vodka, the slightly rebellious offspring of Washington State apples that took home the bronze at the 2010 World Spirits Competition in San Francisco. Lead distiller Matthew welcomes visitors to the distillery for tours in which he shows off the facility, including the hammered-copper alembic he affectionately calls “Maggie,” before doling out samples and bestowing grappa converts with souvenir glassware for future bacchanalian feasts or Flat Earth Society meetings.
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.
It’s static-free, stain-resistant, wind-proof, and warm. And like any versatile crop, it’s harvested on farms—from the backs of sheep. Since 1976, Cloud Nine Sheepskin has specialized in products made from sheepskin. Its fibers boast a laundry list of naturally beneficial qualities, including its ability to stay warm even when wet. Sheepskin slippers, rugs, seat covers, hats, and boots make up some of the more than 500 products in the company’s stock, and each item is guaranteed to be free of sheepskin-disguised wolves looking to sneak into your closet and get their paws on some of those shoes dogs are always going on about.
Born in a modest estate of the Snoqualmie River Valley, Hestia's lovely handcrafted red and white wines make any gathering worthy of a toast. Currently a finalist in Wine and Beer of Washington State's 2010 Wine to Watch competition, Hestia prides itself on its intimate approach, which includes the tradition of unfiltered bottling.