A Quick Woodinville Wine Country Getaway
Sometimes you just need to get away. You can take an extended trip around the globe, or you can simply head 30 minutes down the freeway and find an entirely different world. That’s exactly what you get in Woodinville wine country. With more than 150 wineries and tasting rooms (plus a few breweries in the mix), Woodinville has changed dramatically over the years, and it continues to bloom into a prime tourist destination.
I grew up in Woodinville, so I’ve seen first-hand the area develop over time. That’s actually what lured us there for a quick two-day/one-night getaway. Tove and I drove through Woodinville a few weeks before and I noticed how much the city had changed. We cruised down the streets and saw tasting room after tasting room. So for my birthday, Tove booked a room at Willows Lodge and we took off on a Woodinville wine country adventure.
Are you planning a Woodinville wine country getaway? Here are the places we stopped in Woodinville with a description of each location:
WOODINVILLE WINE COUNTRY GETAWAY
WHERE TO DRINK BEER
Collective on Tap
17802 134th Avenue NE #6
Tove and I appreciate wine, but we also love good beer. That’s why our first stop in Woodinville was the Collective on Tap. With more than 40 craft beers on rotating taps (and many, many more bottles), the options seem endless when you walk through the door. Tove and I finally settled on a brew (as it normally goes — I got an IPA and Tove sipped a sour beer), and we also ordered the The Devil’s Deviled Eggs and Spiced Candy Bacon as appetizers. At Collective on Tap, the menu is constantly changing, but they serve appetizers (they call them “grazers”), sandwiches, “belly warmers” (like pizza and mac & cheese), and salads. It was the perfect spot to kickoff our adventure.
Blue Lightning Brewery
19405 144th Avenue NE
An old friend of mine is a co-owner of Blue Lightning Brewery. They actually share a tasting room with Vessel Wines, so you get the best of both the beer and wine worlds here. Tove and I stuck with brew when we were there. I enjoyed a Papa Gay Gay IPA, while Tove had a Horny Blonde. We also had samplers of their Double Ott Stout and scotch ale (I didn’t catch the official name). Blue Lightning Brewery offered up good beer, great service, and a fun location. From the tasting room, you can actually look down into the brewery. You should definitely swing by Blue Lightning Brewery next time you’re in Woodinville.
UPDATE: Blue Lightning Brewery is no longer in business.
WHERE TO DRINK WINE
19151 144th Avenue NE, Unit D.
Aside from knowing where we were staying, we honestly didn’t have much of a plan on our Woodinville wine country getaway. When we were at Collective on Tap, the bartender suggested the Dirty Bucket Brewery up the street. Unfortunately, Dirty Bucket was closed, but the tasting room next door wasn’t. That’s how we found Gard Vintners. It wound up being a perfect fit for us. Gard Vintners has a very strong Scandinavian influence (Gard means farm in Norwegian), which was right down Tove’s ally since her family background is Danish and Norwegian. We tasted several wines, and we wound up buying a couple bottles of their Riesling.
19730 144th Avenue NE
Let’s get this out of the way first: it’s pronounced FST. It’s the first letter of the last name of the three original owners, but since FST didn’t look very fancy, they decided to spell it phonetically. Viola, Efeste! Again, we didn’t have much a plan, so we wound up here because it was recommended by the tasting room manager at Gard. Efeste was one of our favorite stops. They have good wine, friendly service, and they actually produce wine on the property. Not to mention, Efeste has a strong family history, which is something you can actually feel as a guest at their winery. Just like Gard, we didn’t leave without buying a couple bottles of wine.
14473 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE
Stop us if you’re tired of hearing this: we wound up at the Sparkman Cellars tasting room in the Hollywood Hills Tourist District (they also have a winery and tasting room in the Warehouse District) thanks to a suggestion from the folks at Efeste. We tasted several wines, and eventually settled on buying a bottle of their Hallelujah port. They hadn’t officially released it yet, we didn’t have a chance to really taste it (they offered up a sample of something similar), and we’re not really port drinkers, but the bottle, name, and newness lured us right in.
Chateau Ste. Michelle
14111 NE 145th Street
Sitting on the property that was once the historic Hollywood Farm, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in the state of Washington (founded in 1954). Unlike most of the other wineries in Woodinville, Chateau Ste. Michelle actually produces all of its white wine on-site. The winery offers a cool behind-the-scenes tour every half-four, which includes a free wine tasting at the end. Tove and I received a private tour when we were there, because we were the only ones who showed up for the time slot. The tour was well worth the time.
Chateau Ste. Michelle offers an experience you can’t find anywhere else in Woodinville. Simply strolling the grounds is entertaining on its own. At the same time, I think it’s fair to say the experience at Chateau Ste. Michelle also feels much more “commercial” than other spots in Woodinville. We were by ourselves at many of the tasting rooms, but that definitely wasn’t the case at Chateau Ste. Michelle. There were people everywhere, but I guess that’s what happens when you sell extremely popular wine.
WHERE TO EAT
Purple Cafe & Wine Bar
14459 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE
Purple Cafe & Wine Bar was highly recommended by EVERYONE. There’s a good reason why. It has a bustling atmosphere and delicious food. When we were there, Tove and I started with an award-winning Vietnamese-style lamb belly, the Spicy Prawns and Shoestring Frites, and a cup of the Butternut Squash soup. We then ordered the Dungeness Crab and Foraged Wild Mushroom pasta and the Salt & Pepper Grilled Flat Iron Steak for dinner. For desert, we had Purple Cafe’s famous Sea-Salt Caramels. It was a fantastic meal. We’ll definitely go back to Purple Cafe & Wine Bar again in the future (they also have locations in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland).
14481 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE
Several people suggested the Commons for breakfast the following day, so that’s exactly what we did. There was a good crowd by the time we got there, but we were seated immediately. We arrived at the Commons around 11am, so we were right between the breakfast and lunch crowd. Our waiter said the chicken strips & fries is easily the most popular item on the menu, so that’s what Tove ordered. I went with the classic biscuit sandwich (Beecher’s flagship cheese, bacon and a fried egg on a hearty buttermilk biscuit) and a side of fresh fruit. The Commons also offers scrambles, sandwiches, salads, fresh pastries, a full bar, and plenty of desserts. They serve breakfast plates until 3pm (except for Saturday and Sunday when brunch goes to 4pm).
WHERE TO STAY
14580 NE 145th Street
Located near the heart of the Hollywood Hill Tourist District, Willows Lodge is within walking distance of several tasting rooms and restaurants. Not to mention, it’s right next door to Redhook Brewery, and it also has two incredible restaurants on-site: Barking Frog and The Herbfarm. In other words, it’s the prime location for a Woodinville wine country getaway.
When we checked into our room, we were offered a complimentary glass of wine. After the woman checking us in learned we were staying in Woodinville for my birthday, she later brought a ‘Happy Birthday’ plate full of truffles and a candle. Our room was great and the property is loaded with beautiful art and gardens, which made for a perfect morning strolling.
We honestly just scratched the surface during our Woodinville wine country getaway. There are more than 100 locations we didn’t get to experience. But that’s the best part about Woodinville, it’s just 30 minutes north of Seattle. That means you can go back over and over again, and that’s exactly what we plan to do!
Have you visited Woodinville wine country? What are you favorite wineries and/or tasting rooms? How about breweries? We’d love to hear from you. The more we share; the more everyone can enjoy the best of Woodinville wine country. Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Don’t forget to also visit Seattle Bloggers for more fun adventures in and around the Emerald City.
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