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Like its western sister states, California and Oregon, Washington produces many world-class wines. The climate of eastern Washington is ideal for growing wine grapes, and Woodinville Wine Country is home to over 70 wineries large and small. Many offer tours and tastings. It is easy to get to from downtown Seattle. With a recent change in state law, there are the beginnings of a spirits group as well, with companies making everything from absinthe to vodka.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington's oldest winery and one of the state's largest, producing wine since 1934, and was named "American Winery of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast in 2004. The Chateau is open daily from 10-5 for tours of the winemaking facilities and tasting room. Tours depart every half hour, and finish in the tasting room for complimentary tastings. You can upgrade to "premium" tasting options for a small fee. In addition, Chateau Ste. Michele annually hosts a popular summer concert series.
Columbia Winery is located adjacent to Chateau Ste. Michelle, and visiting both wineries is a great way to spend an afternoon. Columbia Winery boasts the largest wine tasting bar in the state, offers wine tasting from 10am to 6pm daily, and beautifully landscaped grounds.
Red Hook Brewery , also dear to Washingtonians’ hearts, is located next to the Columbia and Chateau Ste. Michelle wineries. One dollar buys a tour of the brewery, a souvenir tasting glass, and plenty of beer samples. Tour times vary by season and day, so check the website for information relevant to your visit. Red Hook Brewery is also home to the Forecaster’s Pub, with a wide selection of pub-style food, and of course, beer.
Woodinville Whiskey Co. is Woodinville's newest attraction and the state's largest (and one of the only) whiskey distillery. They have a beautiful tasting room overlooking their production area where they distill and barrel whiskey daily. Tastings and tours are complimentary and they are open noon to 5pm, Wednesday through Sunday.
Other noted wineries in the Woodinville area include Alexandria Nicole, Delille Cellars, DiStefano Winery, Januik, Matthews Estate, Silverlake Winery and many more. Some of the wineries offer regular tasting hours, others are by appointment only. Best to go the Woodinville Wine Country website for maps, special event information and individual winery listings.
If you venture further afield to eastern Washington, you may wish to visit some wineries that are located closer to where the grapes are actually grown. The Yakima, Columbia and Walla Walla valleys supply grapes for winemakers throughout the state, but it’s worth visiting the many vineyards and wineries throughout eastern Washington. Barnard Griffin, Chinook, and Bookwalter Wineries are all good examples of award-winning Washington wines, and all offer tours and tastings. The Walla Walla area features Dunham, L'Ecole No 41, Waterbrook, Reininger, aMaurice, and many more.
Other distilleries include, Soft Tail Spirits, Pacific Distillery, Project V Distillery and Sausage Company, and JP Trodden.
The following websites provide good information and touring information for travelers interested in Washington wines.