Washington is the second largest producer of wine in the United States, with wines currently exported to 40 countries and all 50 states. Over 50,000 acres of vineyards currently grow in Washington State, with 70 varietals and 14 unique growing regions. Washington brings diversity to the table from all over the world, from sweet gewürztraminers to famous dry Cabernet.
Currently there are over 900 wineries in the State, with a new one opening about every 30 days. Washington State wines are booming, with inexpensive land prices in comparison to California, giving boutique and at home hobby vintners a chance to play.
Washington is making a name for itself in the world wine market with diverse and affordable wines. Move over Napa, for people who are tired of the bloated prices and packed hotels, there are local alternatives.
Stay in town and try out different wineries every week, leaving you more time between tastings to remember your favorites. Several of the tasting rooms carry wine from more than one winery so you can enjoy the ambiance of each unique tasting room instead of packing tastings into a rushed vacation weekend.
What makes Washington wines unique is the way the vintners are mixing grapes from different regions. Several wineries source their grapes from several different vineyards, fusing them into truly unique blends.
Wineries to Visit
Visit the Domanico Cellars tasting room in Ballard. This family owned winery turns the tasting into an event with beer offered for non-wine lovers, painting nights offered weekly, rotating food trucks and an open event space.
For the least amount of movement, but the highest number of small wineries, head out to the Tasting Room Wines of Washington in Pike Place Market. Providing tastings for eight different wineries in one beautiful location, this is an unforgettable, all encompassing experience. In addition, these rooms offer local brews and small tasting plates with occasional dancing and live music evenings.
Another Pike Place tasting room is White Heron Cellars on the 5th floor with a view overlooking the bay and The Great Wheel. Check out the Northwest Tastings Wine Bar;for only $5 you can sample seven wines, while enjoying a sampling of chocolate truffles for only $3. Also offering a variety of small plates, this is a peaceful place to escape the hectic crowds of the market. Catch a beautiful sunset over the bay or watch the traffic zoom by while taking in the scenic view.
Charles Smith Wines Jet City is the brain child of Charles Smith, a prolific winemaker with currently 5 labels that have earned their renowned prestige. His K Syrah Powerline Estate was picked by Wine Spectator in 2017 as the second-best wine in the entire world. At only $45 a bottle, it is definitely worth taking home a few bottles to share with family and friends. Taste it for yourself at his Jet City tasting room held in a large, industrial style building with exposed rafters, a colossally tall front door and floor to ceiling windows. Located next to the Boeing Airfield, stay entertained while sipping by watching planes land outside the massive windows. Not only is this a tasting room, it is also an in-house winery with two tasting rooms containing both an up and downstairs. On a clear day, look out for a view of Mt. Rainier. With 8 different bottles around $20 each, this award-winning winery is both impressive and affordable.
In the heart of South Seattle, check out Sodo Urbanworks, an eclectic space with many thriving businesses. Don’t let the warehouse vibe confuse you, this place is home to 9 funky tasting rooms and a brewery. Try a large variety of Washington wines all within walking distance of one another. A pleasant stop on the way from downtown to SeaTac, start or end your vacation on a high note.
Bartholomew Winery, located in SODO, is situated in the rustic old Rainer beer brewery. Bartholomew isn’t afraid of playing around; with little known and lesser used grape varietals, this spot features some interesting blends.
Eight Bells Wineries is open exclusively on Saturdays, and is located in Seattle’s Roosevelt area, about a mile from the University of Washington. Eight Bells was started by a group of 3 friends and hobbyists with varied backgrounds and a passion for wine. Named after boating terms, these guys appear to have some stories to tell.
The Estates Wine Room, located in Pioneer Square offers tastings and small plates from three wineries in Eastern Washington in a chic downtown location.
Efeste has a tasting room next to SAFECO field with friendly and knowledgeable staff in a small, cozy space.
You can make a day or a half out of it and take a Taylor Tasting Tour. Impress out of town guests with a safe ride around the city to the tasting rooms of your choice or leave it up to the professional tour guides who will customize a tour for you.
Most of the rooms are available for parties, private events and tastings. Keep these on your radar for a professional way to impress new clients or host a party.
With locations expanding the Greater Seattle Area, these spots are driving distance from most neighborhoods. Enjoy a tasting before a game, after work, for a date night or after visiting a museum.
Visit a new room every month and you’ll have years before you run out of tasting rooms to try out, always leaving something to look forward to.