Top 5 Washington Wine Regions
One of America’s fastest growing wine tourism destinations, Washington state offers travelers a variety of wine travel experiences that range from urban to rustic, from simple to sophisticated. Whether you only have an extra couple of days while visiting Seattle or a whole week to take a road trip, Washington delivers.
Here are my top five recommendations for where to go and enjoy Washington wines in the Evergreen state.
Located just 30 minutes outside of Seattle, Woodinville is one of Washington’s most popular wine destinations, particularly for visitors who are enjoying the sights of Seattle. Woodinville hosts tasting rooms to some of the state’s most famous wineries, such as Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery, but also has some unique upstarts. The city has fantastic lodging options if you want to stay the night.
As we have previously explored, Walla Walla is quickly becoming Washington’s answer to Napa Valley. With plenty of room for growth in the surrounding hills in the southeastern corner of the state, the city has no signs of slowing down wine production, nor tourism. The city has a plethora of tasting rooms and chic restaurants lining downtown main street, but be sure to explore some of the city’s quirky and unique wine venues, such as the barracks-turn-wineries by the airport. Or, just find a quiet vineyard terrace south of town and enjoy a sampling of libations in the state’s sunniest region.
The Columbia River Gorge is what separates Washington state from Oregon for about 1,200 miles. It is home to Multnomah Falls (often said to be one of the most photographed spots in Oregon), but the Gorge itself is home to a very unique wine growing region. Here, it is not about which state you’re in, but where in the gorge you are – the weather patterns change every few miles, which means a vast variety of different wine flavors. One of the most well-known wineries, Maryhill, also has the best view from a picturesque spot on the Washington side of the gorge. If you’re starting your Washington wine tour from Portland, this geographic area is a can’t-miss.
One area of Washington state that does a lot of the wine industry’s heavy living is the Yakima Valley, home to miles and miles of vineyards. If you’re needing a break from the wine, Yakima also has several brewing companies, as well a few lavender farms that impress. The area also host an array of fun events coordinated among all the wineries in the area – these include everything from a red wine and chocolate weekend to live music nights.
While Seattle normally tops traveler’s lists for coffee or beer, the city actually has a growing urban wine scene which now has 14 wineries. Having lived there, I’ve always said the best parts of Seattle are tucked away in the neighborhoods, and taking a tour of some of the city’s urban wineries is the perfect way to do that – venues stretch from south of town towards the airport, to West Seattle, to the north edge of the University District.
For more information about Washington wine, I encourage you to visit the official Washington Wine Commission website.
Andy Hayes is a creative web producer based in sunny Portland, Oregon. He is also the founder of Plum Deluxe, a community of friends and family that enjoy life’s everyday luxuries.
By Andy Hayes