Sip Wine on Both Sides of the Mountain

Washington may be the Evergreen State, but east of the Cascades, where the sun shines brightly for most of the year, grape vines have joined fruit trees and amber waves of grain to color the landscape a different shade. Unwind with a glass of Washington-grown wine, and take in the wide-open views throughout the eastern region of the state.

East

Washington may be the Evergreen State, but east of the Cascades, where the sun shines brightly for most of the year, grape vines have joined fruit trees and amber waves of grain to color the landscape a different shade. Unwind with a glass of Washington-grown wine, and take in the wide-open views throughout the eastern region of the state.

Yakima Valley

Kick up the festive vibes with sparkling wines on the terraced patio at Treveri Cellars in Wapato outside of Yakima. Views to the west taste best with a flight of bubbles, and there are wines ranging from extra brut to sweet.

If downtown Yakima is all you have time for, stop in at the Gilbert Cellars tasting room for a casual introduction to its wines. However, the winery at Hackett Ranch is the place to go to relax (tastings and tours by appointment only). Catch a live show in the amphitheater during the summer — wines available by the glass and bottle as well as snacks from local food vendors.

Red Mountain/Tri-Cities

One of the crown jewels in Chateau Ste. Michelle’s string of winery pearls, Col Solare is a partnership with Tuscany’s Antinori family that feels like a European vacation practically in our backyard. The vineyards are planted in a solar pattern around the golden-hued winery. A cast-iron bell hangs on the top of a 56-foot tower, rung only for special events, like the beginning and ending of harvest. A beautiful elevated patio gives guests a view as good as the 94-point wines.

A visit to Red Mountain wouldn’t be complete without seeing its flagship vineyard and winery, Kiona Vineyards. The tasting room is laid out somewhat like a church, with a long central nave and wings to either side, with a patio facing west overlooking the first vineyard planting of Lemberger vines. Try the Estate wines for a true Red Mountain experience.

Everything about Terra Blanca is big — the massive doors opening into the tasting room, the view from the patio, the gardens, and the wines. Watch the weather roll past while noshing on a brick oven pizza, like The Drunken Pig or the Wagyu Beef Winery Burger with red wine jam.

The view may not be sweeping, but the patio game is strong with tranquil garden touches, umbrellas, and a fire pit. Playing off the literary theme, Bookwalter wines sport wordy monikers like the highly rated 2013 Protaganist (Cabernet Sauvignon-based, Left Bank style) and 2014 Suspense (Merlot and Cabernet Franc-based, Right Bank style). Do not leave without ordering food from Fiction, the on-site restaurant. If nothing else, order the avocado fries, served with sriracha and spicy rémoulade sauce (plus the Old Vine Chenin or Bacchus Vineyard Riesling) — then, a juicy Wagyu Bavette Steak to go with all that beautiful red wine.

Chelan

Set up high on the southwest end of Lake Chelan with unfettered views of the water and vineyards planted all around the back side, Fielding Hills serves Bordeaux-style red wines, a cab franc rosé, and a couple of white wines like Chenin Blanc. Start the day with yoga on the lawn (9:30-10:30 a.m., Wednesdays through Sept. 16) followed by sips on the patio and a plate of cheese, crackers, charcuterie, and chocolate.

The bright red building next door to Fielding Hills, Nefarious Cellars, specializes in Rhone varietals with a few others on the roster. Pull up a turquoise Adirondack chair, and put that palate to work. If you fall in love and want to move in, rent the guesthouse just steps away from the tasting room (sleeps four).

Walla Walla Valley

Situated in the Blue Mountains, these wineries embody rural Eastern Washington charm — the tasting room at Walla Walla Vintners is in a barn surrounded by lawn and shade trees. The customer- and food-friendly wines earned it the Wine Press Northwest 2016 Winery of the Year award.

You can thank winemaker Anna Schafer for the artistic flourishes adorning the àMaurice Cellars tasting room — like the nest-inspired chandelier overhead. But, only nature gets to take credit for the beauty outside. Just try to hold your applause until the sun finally sets.

From the wine to the ambiance, Amavi Cellars is a great place to kick back for an afternoon. Floor-to-ceiling windows and decks off two sides of the tasting room afford unimpeded views of the green valley.

Get your camera ready for some artistic inspiration when visiting Tranche Cellars. Stripes of light filter through slats framing a green lawn running to upswept vineyards. Even the light fixtures, spiraling from the ceiling, nudge one toward aesthetic appreciation. In addition to the line of Rhone varietals, Tranche also offers an estate line of single varietal options like Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and Barbera.

Columbia Gorge

One of the state’s largest and most-visited wineries, Maryhill Winery sits adjacent to the Maryhill Museum atop a bluff on the northern side of the Columbia River Gorge in Goldendale. Stunning views of the river, Mount Hood, and the southern end of the Columbia Valley make an inspiring backdrop for a day of wine tasting. Voted “2015 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year” by Wine Press Northwest, Maryhill Winery partners with 24 vineyards in eight of Washington’s 14 AVAs, producing 80,000 cases of wine annually. The wines showcase nearly every major varietal grown in the state, both red and white, at affordable prices. Try the 2016 Viognier (pear, honeysuckle, melon, nectarine) or the 2016 Rosé of Sangiovese (strawberry, watermelon, peach).

West

It’s easy to enjoy the bounty of Eastern Washington without ever crossing the Cascades, thanks to Woodinville and other urban locations around the Puget Sound. There are even a few vineyards on the west side of the mountains.

Seattle

Every summer the beverage-focused crew at SODO Urban Works throws a huge block party. The horseshoe-shaped layout seems to have been designed specifically for cross mingling between the wineries and breweries. Rhone-ephiles take heart: Rotie and Kerloo Cellars have you covered. Stop in at Sleight of Hand for a little wine and music magic — chances are, there is a great album spinning on the record player. New this summer, Nine Hats Wines and Den Hoed have joined the SODO collection, which also contains Schooner Exact Brewing Company (great food offered here), Shirafuju Sake Brewing Company, Full Pull, and Latta Wines.

Estates Wine Room in Pioneer Square features some of the best examples of Northwest wineries: Seven Hills Winery (Walla Walla Valley), Double Canyon (Horse Heaven Hills), and Archery Summit (Willamette Valley). Several flights give guests a customized experience. Small plates of locally sourced cheeses, meats, and bread make it easy to talk yourself into a second flight.

Bainbridge Island

Several wineries have tasting rooms on Winslow Way, a short walk from the ferry terminal, including Eleven Winery and Island Tasting Room Gallery Cafe, featuring wines from Amelia Wynn and Fletcher Bay Winery. Officially the closest vineyard to Seattle and part of the Puget Sound AVA, Bainbridge Winery features a rustic but charming tasting room. Visitors can roam the grounds, observing draft horses at work and sheep at play. Try the island-grown Pinot Noir along with some more unusual-to-Washington white varietals like Müller-Thurgau, Siegerrebe, Zweigelt, Dunkelfelder, and a lovely Madeleine Angevine bursting with passion fruit and Meyer lemon notes. A short distance north of town are the island’s only vineyards, at Perennial Vintners and Bainbridge Winery, mostly women-owned and -managed. Head to Coppertop business park for a concentrated selection of tasty consumables, including Storyville Coffee, Metro Market, Bainbridge Island Brewing Company, Bainbridge Organic Distillers, and Fletcher Bay Winery. The tasting room at Fletcher Bay has been recently renovated and features an upscale nautical theme in keeping with the island’s maritime history. Winemaker Jim Wilford is passionate about red wine, and it shows in the vibrant 2015 Malbec, featuring red fruit and pyrazines like bell pepper; and the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, with ripe raspberry and plum with soft round tannins.

Woodinville

The mother of all Washington wineries, Chateau Ste. Michelle is also the best place to get an immersive wine experience. Strolling through the lushly tended grounds feels like a mini-vacation. And since Chateau Ste. Michelle handles a majority of Washington’s wine grapes, there is truly a wine for everyone here. Throw down a picnic blanket and catch one of the big national acts, like Chicago, that perform here during the summer.

Tucked away from the hustle of Hollywood Circle, Adam’s Bench Winery and JM Cellars are the area’s best-kept secrets. Manicured grounds and a pastoral setting encourage guests at Adam’s Bench to linger over Cabernet-based wines. JM Cellars is located on a wooded hillside known as Bramble Bump, a seven-acre private arboretum. Indoor and outdoor seating, plus a winding path down to the creek, makes it easy to spend an afternoon in this magical setting.

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