Woodinville, a small town just a half hour from Seattle, has become a destination for wine enthusiasts. Over 90 wineries have tasting rooms located there as well as breweries and distilleries. It makes a great day trip from Seattle combined with Snoqualmie Falls.
Tasting rooms are located in different districts of town. We visited three wineries in the Hollywood district. For a list of wineries and hours, click here. Some are open strictly on weekends, but plenty are open daily. The best part is that you don’t have to drive very far to find a tasting room. While some wineries are located quite far from one another, there are strip malls with several tasting rooms right next to each other.
Chateau Ste. Michelle
The first place we visited was Chateau Ste. Michelle, which is the biggest and oldest producer of wine in Washington. They set the bar for smaller winemakers in the state, and most wouldn’t exist without their influence.
The chateau is located on over 100 acres of wooded property. If you have extra time during your visit, you can walk around the grounds to take in the beautiful scenery.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is open daily from 10am to 5pm and offers free tours lasting about 35 minutes. Several other paid tours are offered, including tastings of premium wines, pairings, and more. Check the website for more details on winery experiences.
Reservations are not required for the free tours, but space is limited. You can sign up for a tour in the lobby, where you will be given a ticket. When it’s time to start your tour, you’re given a glass and taught how to properly taste wine.
During the tour, the guide explains the history of wine in Washington and why the state is a great place for winemaking. You also learn about several premium and award-winning wines produced by Chateau Ste. Michelle as well as partnerships with other winemakers throughout the world.
At the end of the tour, you’re taken to the tasting room to try a few different select wines. After the tour, you have the opportunity to pay for a premium tasting and to purchase bottles. The staff is happy to help you find the type of wine you’re looking for.
When we finished at Chateau Ste. Michelle, we were very hungry. We headed to a strip mall of tasting rooms and found Sora Sushi. We had a delicious lunch with great service, and it was the perfect complement to the wine we were tasting all afternoon.
William Church Winery
A few steps from the restaurant, we visited William Church Winery. The small but friendly tasting room offered five wines for US$12 (as of January 2018). We were able to share the tasting, and it was refunded after we bought a bottle. We enjoyed the wines at William Church very much. Both of us agreed that four of the five were of better quality than what we tasted at Chateau Ste. Michelle, and we enjoyed the conversation with the bartender.
The third and final tasting room we visited was Airfield Estates. Tastings were US$5 (as of January 2018) for six different wines, refundable with the purchase of a bottle. We didn’t really like any of them until the sixth, but each glass was better than the last. Also, service was a bit strange. The woman behind the bar was friendly but would disappear for a few minutes at a time. We ended up spending much more time waiting than sampling.