MikeL's Guide to WA Wineries
You're in Seattle for a few days

[This was written as email to an out-of-towner who was going to be in Seattle for a few days in June 1997, and wanted to do some serious winetasting. I listed a several day schedule, it's broken up into 4 parts here.]

Assuming your conference is in Seattle proper, and you're there for a few days, you may want to drop in to E. B. Foote winery -- they're open Tue. and Thu. evenings ('though best to call ahead). One evening you could also have a nice (fairly expensive, but excellent) dinner at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, which is the only place to try the wines of Cavatappi Winery (purchasable at some local wine shops).

The drive from Seattle to the closest wineries in the Yakima area is 3+ hours. Because of this, I'd recommend sticking with the Seattle area for that last day of the conference. Take I-90 or SR-520 East to I-405, then north on I-405 to Woodinville (20-30 minutes from Seattle) and visit:

  1. Chateau Ste. Michelle (it's a huge corporate facility, but it's worth it anyways) beautiful buildings/grounds, wines available across USA
  2. Send e-mail to Chris Upchurch at Delille Cellars (highly regarded appt. only winery) -- if you can get an appt., go there next (2 minutes south).
  3. If it's still early go across the street from Chateau Ste. Michelle to Columbia Winery. They once were something very special but are very busy and commercial nowadays. Good selection of reasonable wines, plus some higher priced fine wines. This winery IS the history of wine in WA state, just don't expect too much. This is where the Wine Train ends now.
  4. Go two minutes up the road to Lou Facelli Winery. As you're there on a weekday, you'll have to call ahead. I'm pretty sure he's typically there on weekdays, but normal open hours are weekends only. Lou is one of the more enjoyable winemakers, and his wines tend toward a lovely lighter style.
  5. If you have time, go two more minutes north to Silver Lake Winery. This is WA's only publicly held winery, I'd call them a good value winery.
  6. Another two minutes northeast to Matthews Cellars -- send him e-mail, he's an appt. only winery. Matt makes small amounts of great wines.
2), 4), 6) are essential for the serious wine afficienado. 1) is good, 3) and 5) are enjoyable, but less important if you're short on time.

More to come for the rest of trip in a later note.

P.S. You know, after doing all this typing, I think I'm going to add this as a page at the site. I've been meaning to add some "recommended tours" pages for a long time, here's the first installment.

Day 2

After visiting the Woodinville wineries as described yesterday, you can then drive out to the Yakima Valley the following day. This way you're doing your driving during the time that no wineries are open anyways, thus maximizing your tasting time.

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