The Woodinville wine area is only about 25 minutes northeast of Seattle and boasts major wineries such as Columbia Winery
and Chateau Ste. Michelle
, both of which offer tastings. There are plenty of other wineries, including some smaller family-run operations, to discover as well. Check out Dusted Valley Vintners, DeLille Cellars, Novelty Hill/Januik, Mark Ryan Winery, Apex at Alder Ridge and Brian Carter Cellars.
Most wineries (including many not normally open to the public) participate in the popular Saint Nicholas Day open-house tastings (early December). If a splurge is in your budget, be sure to dine at one of the Northwest’s landmark restaurants, The Herbfarm
(but make reservations well in advance).
About 140 miles southeast is the sunny Yakima Valley wine region. Here, there are enough wineries to keep you swirling, sipping and savoring for days. You can also tour the Darigold Dairy, search for treasures in the area’s many antique shops and stay in one of the cozy B&Bs that dot this region. Looking for a break from wine tasting? The Yakima River is one of Washington’s “blue ribbon” trout streams for fly fishing. And much of the valley is known for its excellent wildlife-watching opportunities.
Walla Walla, a college town that’s another 130 miles southeast of Yakima, combines excellent wine-tasting opportunities with a rich cultural community. Wander the historic downtown, enjoy Summer Sounds on the Plaza concerts, catch a show at the Walla Walla Little Theatre or browse a handful of art galleries. Walla Walla is also known for its superb selection of restaurants. Call ahead to Walla Walla wineries to make sure they are open on the days you plan to visit, as many in this area are small operations.