Day Trip: Woodinville Wine Country

With more than 100 wineries and only 30 minutes from Seattle, Woodinville Wine Country is the perfect day out for Seattleites. Woodinville is made up of three wine districts: the Hollywood District, often called the Tourist District, with big winery names like Chateau Ste Michelle; West Valley District on the west side of the Sammamish River boasting newer tasting rooms and restaurants more widely spaced out; the Warehouse District which houses boutique tasting rooms in an industrial park, including neighboring Artisan Hill, with a smaller number of artisan wineries, distilleries and a brewery.

You can’t possibly visit every wine making establishment in Woodinville, but you can certainly make a dent in the list. Here’s a suggested itinerary.

Brunch is the most important meal of the day and Woodinville has great restaurant options. For those who want to grab something to go, stop by Proven Bread in the Warehouse District for the biggest and tastiest scone you’ve ever had. (You may also want to stock up on baguettes while you’re there for an impromptu winery picnic later.) For those who have time, take a seat at The Commons in the Tourist District and dig into hearty portions of challah french toast and housemade chorizo egg scramble. Don’t forget to order a cinnamon roll.

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After brunch, start at the Warehouse District. Smasne, Ambassador, and Pondera have large tasting rooms with plenty of seating. Be sure to pop across the street to Refuge & Prospect if only to check out the awesome interior (but you should probably taste the wine too.)

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Cut across to Artisan Hill and stop at Des Voigne Cellars for an extensive wine tasting. This cozy tasting room has a speakeasy vibe to it and for those of you visiting with beer-drinking buddies, this is the place. They also have a brewery, B-Side Brewing, and offer tasting flights.

In the Tourist District, you will be spoiled for choice for imbibing. Be sure to stop by J. Bookwalter, Chandler Reach, Gorman, and Patterson where outdoor seating is aplenty. Local restaurants like Vivi Pizzeria will deliver wood fired pizza to your table. Or take a picnic to the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle. Get takeout from Ezells and sit on the deck at Castillo de Feliciana. But don’t worry if you haven’t thought ahead to BYO; food trucks are dotted around the winery districts, so there’s no need to fill up on those little oyster crackers they serve you between wine tastings.

In the summer, tasting rooms are open much later, offering wines by the glass. Walk along the main street of the Tourist District to check out the live music offerings. Finish the evening sitting outside at the fire pit at the Hollywood Tavern or enjoying a cocktail at the Fireside Lounge in Willows Lodge.

Wine not your thing? You’re in luck because Woodinville has just about everything. Home to the well-known Red Hook Brewery, Woodinville also has several craft breweries (check out Triplehorn and Sumerian) and an awesome cider tasting room called Locust Cider. Woodinville Whiskey Co. should not be missed. Even non-whiskey lovers will enjoy taste-testing the whiskey maple syrup.

Tip: Be sure to bring along snacks, picnic blankets, and a designated driver.

- Caitlin Huson, TWIF Blogger