Oenophiles – Are you looking to diversify your palette, socialize with your companions, and enjoy some charming countryside? The Woodinville wineries in Washington State offer an array of different settings. There are around 110 wine tasting rooms in Woodinville. Every tasting spot is unique and noteworthy, so plan on visiting several wineries in the area. With all the available options, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which locations to add to your list. I’ve picked my top 5 famous wineries in Woodinville, all within walking distance of each other.
Wine Tasting Steps
If you’re a newbie to wine tasting here’s a few steps that will help you taste like a pro:
Hold the wine glass by the stem.
Hue and Intensity: Identify the wine’s most prominent color as a point of reference. As wines age, they tend to look more yellow and brown. Also evaluate the clarity; is the wine clear without anything murky or are there visible particles suspended in the wine? This will indicate whether if the wine has been filtered
Assessing the Legs: When you swirl the wine, you will see tears develop on the sides of the glass. It indicates the presence of alcohol in the wine. Increased tearing is an indication of a higher alcohol level. A very sweet wine tends to look like a syrup when testing the legs.
Smell before swirl. We do this because there can be a noticeable difference in the smell before you swirl. Try to identify the smells to get clear impression of the wine before you taste. There are hundreds of aromas compounds found in wine. Look for intensity, floral, fruity, herbal, oak, earthiness etc. this is my favorite part.
Your first sip will be to cleanse your palate, to wash away the day’s food and drink. The next sip will be the sip you use to evaluate the wine. Roll the wine around your mouth and tongue. The front of your tongue will pick up sweetness, the sides will pick up salt and acidity, while the back will pick up bitterness. After swallowing, try to breathe out through your nose to get some of the subtle flavors and aromas of the wine. By doing this, you can evaluate the finish; now you have the opportunity to consider the wine’s quality. (I’ve been told this is like drinking whiskey)
My Top 5 List:
Chateau Ste Michelle Winery
Here’s a little history of Chateau Ste Michelle Winery: It was built on the estate of 1912 lumbar baron Frederick Stimson; it is the oldest winery in the state of Washington and the Nation’s second largest producer of premium wine, second only to California. But quantity is only part of the story, quality is the main character. Chateau Ste. Michelle has earned 22 Top 100 awards, the most of any producer in the United States. The chateau itself in Woodinville was built in 1976 and massively renovated in 2018. It offers tours and tastings, and hosts an immensely popular concert series each year. Previous acts have included Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and John Legend, among many others. As for wine tasting they offer a variety of options from $15 tasting all the way up to $200. Open daily from 10am to 5pm. If you only visit one Woodinville winery, this should be the spot.
- Location: 14111 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072
- Phone: (425) 488-1133
Novelty Hill Januik Winery
Compared to the vintage Chateau Ste Michele, Novelty Hill Januik is a very contemporary and beautiful in its own way; a must visit on the list of Woodinville wineries. Novelty Hill Januik winery opened in 2007. Best known for its award-winning Washington State chardonnays, cabernet sauvignons, merlots and sauvignon blanc. This winery is a full production winery meaning everything is made on site. With around 40,000 barrels, the fermentation process, the aging, as well as the bottling process all happens at this location. They have a full time culinary team and they offer handmade pizza to enjoy with your glass of wine. They have live music on Wednesdays during the summer time. Open daily from 11am to 5pm.
- Location: 14710 Redmond-Woodinville Rd NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
- Phone: (425) 481-5502
JM Cellars is one of my personal favorites because it’s a small, family-owned winery and they have been producing some damn good wine since 1998. The tasting room is located in a wooded countryside setting on a charming seven acre property with lots of room for wandering. It offers a very inviting setting and has outstanding service; the guides are always very knowledgeable about their products. If you’re also a turophile like me, they do provide a variety of cheese platters to choose from while you indulge in a glass of wine. The tasting fee is $15 and is applied towards the purchase of 1 bottle of your choice if you decide to take one home. Tasting hours are Friday to Sunday 11AM to 4PM with the last tastings of the day beginning at 4pm. They also provide private tours starting at $40 per person going up to $150 per person.
- Location: 14404 137th Place NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
- Phone: (425) 485-6508
Columbia Winery has been in the business for over 50 years. They are well known for producing the first series of vineyard-designate (wine produced from the product of a single vineyard with that vineyard’s name appearing on the wine label) wines and the first pinot gris, syrah and cabernet franc wines in Washington. Tasting is only $15, which also can go towards a bottle. Columbia Winery is one of the distinctive Woodinville wineries; it has a welcoming victorian style entrance with a large open concept room; enjoy the view and relax while you sip and snack on one of their delicious charcuterie boards while you warm yourself next to the fireplace.
- Location: 14030 Ne 145th Street, Woodinville, WA
- Phone: 425-482-7490
DeLille Cellars was founded in 1992 and pioneered Bordeaux-style blends from Washington State; they have maintained a tradition of quality and excellence since. DeLille isn’t as ritzy as the other Woodinville wineries in this list, but it makes up for it with a savory selection of wines!
- Location: 14421 Redmond-Woodinville Rd NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
- Phone: (425) 877-9472
All the wineries mentioned above also host a lineup of events including weddings, holiday celebrations and concerts; they also make a good meetup spot for business gatherings.
If wine isn’t your favorite intoxicant, check out the craft breweries or distilleries; all of which are working in tandem to produce some of the best locally produced beverages.