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.
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.
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.
"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.
Waving Tree Winery churns out award-winning wines. But instead of using its syrah, orange muscat, and other varietals to fill a delicious moat around the facility, Waving Tree shares them at its tasting room in Kirkland. Here, visitors can immerse themselves into the cozy room's dark tones while tasting Waving Tree's many productions. In between sips, they can also munch on small plates, flip through books, or explore rotating art exhibits showcasing the talents of local artists.