A frontier region in the millennia-old wine landscape, Washington has become increasingly recognized for its exceptional climate and world-class wines. Sharing the same latitude as renowned regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy, part of the allure of wine tasting in the state is that there is still so much to discover.
In the idyllic towns of Woodinville and Kirkland, you can find wine from the state’s acclaimed Columbia Valley and beyond, complemented by adjacent art galleries and the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. From our very own wine bar overlooking Lake Washington to the oldest winery in the state, here are six wineries not to miss during your stay in the Evergreen State:
Set alongside the azure waters of Lake Washington, The Woodmark’s stylish wine bar bin on the lake offers 40 wines by the glass and select wine flights, as well as a menu that captures the seasonal flavors of the Pacific Northwest. Using an Enomatic Wine system, guests can enjoy glasses of the best wines on the list without the commitment of purchasing full bottles.
“We strive to pour as many local and regional wines as possible,” says Director of Food and Beverage Jason Friendy. Naming standouts like Betz, La Jota, Long Shadows, Figgins, DeLille Cellars, Savage Grace, Efeste, Chateau Ste. Michelle, North Star, and Januik, he says, “They are some of the best in the world, and Washington is quickly becoming one of the finest wine-producing regions in the world.”
In addition to state wines, the constantly evolving wine list highlights Old World selections, vintage and non-vintage champagnes, and a large reserve of the world’s best wines.
Named one of the Top 100 Wineries of 2017 by Wine & Spirits, DeLille Cellars is the boutique winery that pioneered Bordeaux-style blends from Washington. The winery sources grapes from the well-known Grand Cru vineyards, using some of the oldest vines in the state, to interpret the classic French styles of Bordeaux, the Rhône Valley, and Provence.
Friendy’s personal favorite DeLille wine is the Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon, which you can taste at the Carriage House Tasting Room in Woodinville, the Maison DeLille wine lounge in downtown Kirkland, and bin on the lake through a partnership with the winery. (bin on the lake also carries the guest favorite D2 red blend, Doyenne AIX, Doyenne Signature Syrah, and Chaleur Estate Blanc.)
Photo: DeLille Cellars
Washington’s founding winery is Chateau Ste. Michelle, a historic enclave with more than 50 years of winemaking tradition. An iconic chateau is the centerpiece of the property, and it is there that you can enjoy behind-the-scenes tours of the winemaking process, classes in the art of blending or the art of tasting wine like a sommelier, and exquisite pairings.
A partner of The Woodmark, Chateau Ste. Michelle often collaborates with bin on the lake for winemaker dinners, wine releases, and special private tastings. You can try the Eroica Riesling, the Ethos Merlot, and the Pundit Syrah at bin on the lake, but you will need to visit the winery itself for the full tasting experience.
Photo: Chateau Ste. Michelle
Nestled along the Colombia River, the vineyards of the family-owned Waving Tree Winery are home to Italian varietals like Sangiovese, Barbera, and Nebbiolo and Rhône-region varietals like Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.
Barrel-aged in French and American oak, the exquisite wines can be enjoyed at the cozy Kirkland tasting room – located next to the EAFA Gallery, ryan james fine arts, and Northwest Cellars. The Orange Muscat is a favorite of sweet wine lovers, as are the sweet versions of Barbera and Sangiovese.
Photo: Waving Tree Winery
With a focus on balance, power, dimension, and finesse, family-owned JM Cellars produces handcrafted, limited-release wines like the Bramble Bump Red (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot). The winery and tasting room can be found on a verdant, seven-acre property called Bramble Bump that has plenty of trails to walk while you sip wines. Once owned by horticulturalists, the property is home to 120 Japanese maples and more than 400 rare conifers including a Chilean Fire Tree and an enormous Himalayan Zebra Pine.
“I had a great experience at JM Cellars located in Woodinville,” says Friendy. Along with normal tasting room hours, “they specialize in private events, including a winemaker tour and tasting as well as a wine blending class where you can blend your own wine, create a custom label, and have them produce your wine for your personal cellar.”
Those who choose to enjoy JM Cellars wines at bin on the lake will find the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Margaret’s Vineyard Estate Red on the menu.
Photo: JM Cellars
Led by founder Bob Delf, an expert in blending, Northwest Cellars is a vibrant winery in the heart of Kirkland that plays live music on Fridays year-round. Indulge in unique wines like the deep, dark Carménère, the Fortissimo with a nose of dark fruit and root beer, and the breezy Sonatina (a blend of Roussanne and Viognier). For special occasions, you can actually request a custom label for any bottle of wine.
Photo: Richard Duval Images
For more information on the wineries of Woodinville and Kirkland, speak with Director of Food and Beverage Jason Friendy or any of our knowledgeable team members at bin on the lake.
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