Washington State wineries to visit

Seattle, Washington state’s lone metropolitan centre, is known as the Emerald City. Its lush forests and endless parks cover the city in green, and it wraps around two lakes, plus Elliot Bay on its western side.

But cross the Cascade Mountains to the east and a whole new setting emerges. There, high-elevation plateaus and rolling hills offer a vast, open landscape covered with desert.

And dotted throughout, from Seattle to the eastern plains, is Washington wine country.

Thanks to those elevated deserts, the region is best known for robust, structural reds, but its cool nights and cold Pacific influence mean you can also find fresh, mouthwatering whites.

Just a half-hour drive from Seattle’s downtown sits Woodinville, the epicentre of Washington wine, with visitor centres for more than 100 wineries.

Woodinville and West

Chateau Ste Michelle, Woodinville

Washington state wineries, Chateau Ste Michelle

Chateau Ste Michelle

One of Washington’s largest producers, Chateau Ste Michelle, complete with a showpiece French-inspired château and extensive grounds.

There, guests can savour not only the Ste Michelle collection but also its partner projects such as Col Solare with Italy’s Antinori family, and Eroica with Germany’s Ernst Loosen.

Open daily, 10am – 5pm, with tours and tastings. 

Savage Grace

Washington State wineries

Savage Grace shows off flavourful options with a lighter frame.

Saturday and Sunday from 1-5pm (and by appointment).

Force Majeure

For a premium experience, Force Majeure resides in North Woodinville – but pours by appointment only.

Contact: info@fm-wine.com

East and Columbia Valley

For a more boutique sense of wine country, head east over the Cascade Mountains into the vast Columbia Valley.

àMaurice Cellars, Walla Walla

Drive into the foothills of the Blue Mountains for a tasting at àMaurice Cellars.  The family winery features red wines classic to the region – fresh while earthy Bordeaux blends from some of the oldest vines in the state, and vibrant, savoury Rhône reds – but it also makes Rhône whites perfect for a post-breakfast pick me up.  Be sure to call the tasting room to let them know you plan to picnic.

Open Friday and Saturday 10:30am – 4:30pm or by appointment.

Gramercy Cellars, Walla Walla

Washington State wineries, Gramercy Cellars

Ride to Gramercy Cellars to refresh your palate with Master Sommelier Greg Harrington’s crisp Picpoul Blanc, and refreshing while textural Viognier.

By appointment Tuesday through Friday, Open Saturdays 11am to 5pm

Hedges, Red Mountain

WAshington state wineries, Hedges Estate

In Red Mountain, Hedges has been relying on biodynamic farming to increase the earthy freshness of its classic reds.

Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 5 pm, April 22 through November.

Seven Hills, Walla Walla

Visit one of the state’s founding wineries such as the Bordeaux-focused Seven Hills with the oldest Merlot and Cabernet vines in the area.

Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, Sunday, 10am – 2pm

Pepper Bridge, Walla Walla

Washington States, Pepper Bridge

The tasting room at Pepper Bridge

Family-owned estates like Pepper Bridge have led the way in sustainable viticulture while also helping to establish vineyards in less-explored parts of the appellation.

Contact to arrange tours and tastings.

When to visit

Visit at the end of March to attend the state’s biggest annual wine event, Taste Washington. Restaurants, wine shops and tasting rooms throughout Seattle celebrate the state’s wines throughout the month.

The celebration culminates in a four-day gala, over the last weekend of March, featuring top chefs and the region’s best winemakers and menus revolve around the state’s signature ingredients.

Washington state wineries, Taste Washington

Taste Washington

If you’re looking for warm weather, visit mid-June for the annual Celebrate Walla Walla event.

This includes a series of winemaker meals and regional tastings, an educational seminar and a keynote address by one of the nation’s top wine experts.

In true country Washington, check out the one-day Trail Drive & BBQ that Horse Heaven Hills Winegrowers throws in July – a big annual fundraiser where proceeds are used to send new winemakers to school.

Elaine Brown is a wine and travel writer based in California. Edited for Decanter.com by Ellie Douglas. 

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