If you find yourself visiting Seattle and you like wine, you must carve out a day in your schedule for a trip north to the town of Woodinville. This small town, just 30 minutes north of Seattle, is home to over 100 wineries and tasting rooms. From Washington’s largest and oldest wineries to its smallest and newest, you’ll find many of them offering tastings in a beautiful, laid back setting.
Nearly all of the Woodinville wineries grow their grapes across the Cascade Mountains in Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley.
Know Before You Go
- There are 4 Districts in Woodinville filled with Tasting Rooms. With so many tasting rooms and so little time, you might feel a bit overwhelmed when planning your day in Woodinville. However, Woodinville is divided into four districts, each with a distinct offering and vibe. A great approach is to figure out which district you want to visit and stick with it for the day. The four districts are the West Valley District, Hollywood District, Downtown District, and the Warehouse District.
- Woodinville is about tasting rooms not vineyards. If you are looking for acres of vines with opportunities to walk among the grapes or cellars filled with barrels as far as the eye can see, you’re in the wrong place. Rather, Woodinville is home to tasting rooms for many of Washington’s wineries, not their vineyards. Washington’s grape growing region is farther east of the Cascade Mountains, where the weather is sunny and dry.
- Most tasting rooms offer complimentary tastings or waive the tasting fee. You’ll find many tasting rooms that offer a complimentary tasting, or you can opt for a more indepth tasting for a modest fee. Many wineries will also waive the fee if you buy a bottle, so be sure to ask when you arrive if you don’t see a sign with the fees at the tasting bar.
- Uber is readily available to be your designated driver. Although many wine tasting rooms are conveniently within walking distance of each other, getting to and from your hotel and to another cluster of tasting rooms will require a car. Rather than drive, simply call Uber for inexpensive transportation around Woodinville. It’s a good idea to have someone else do the driving when you’re wine tasting in Woodinville all day.
- The tourism board is very helpful. Be sure to visit the tourism board’s website, Visit Woodinville, for a lot of great information to help you organize your visit. They do a great job with describing the four districts and listing the wineries you’ll find there.
“As Washington has grown into one of the world’s premier wine making regions, Woodinville has blossomed into its centerpiece.”
Sipping your day away in the Hollywood District
I recommend that you stick to just one district to get the most out of a short visit and hit up the other districts on a return visit. I decided to plan a day in the Hollywood District because it offered everything I was looking for: beautiful scenery, both large and small wineries, a wine tour, and great dining options. One thing that is great about Woodinville regardless of the district is that you’ll find plenty of wine tasting rooms conveniently located within walking distance of each other. Here are my recommendations for having a “deliciously diverse wine experience” in the Hollywood District during your day trip to Woodinville.
Chateau Ste. Michelle
14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, WA
Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; tours offered daily
What to expect: Beautiful scenery, many tasting options, a tour and great shopping
You can’t visit Woodinville without a visit to Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington’s oldest winery (opened in 1976) and the second largest winery in the State. It’s the perfect place to start your day because it encompasses everything you could possibly want and/or expect when visiting a winery, especially if you’ve been to Napa Valley. At Chateau Ste. Michelle, you’ll see scenic vines, learn about wine making in Washington during a tour, taste different wines in their tasting room, and have an opportunity to buy not only their wines, but shop in a well stocked shop offering unique housewares and barware.
There are several tasting options available at Chateau Ste. Michelle. There is a complimentary tour and tasting (35 minutes), the Wine Shop Tastings with no tour ($10-15, depending on the wines), the Library Pairings Tastings ($30, reservations required), and the Ultimate Tour and Tasting ($85-100, reservations required). I did a tour of the facility as well as the Wine Shop Tasting of the Estate wines. I highly recommend adding the Estate wines tasting, as it gives you a chance to sample some of their finest (and pricier) wines, and you’ll probably end up going home with a bottle of each (I did!).
4463 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville, WA
Hours: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
What to expect: balanced, easy to drink wines and friendly, knowledgeable staff
A visit to the boutique winery of àMaurice should be on your wine tasting itinerary when visiting Woodinville. The wines from the Walla Walla Valley are divine, and the service is 5 stars. You’ll find yourself wanting to linger here just to talk to the wine rep who quickly feels like an old friend.
The tasting room itself is small but with its white walls and light wood accents, it’s bright, cheery, and very welcoming. My two favorite were the Amparo Estate Malbec and the Artist “Ivey” Blend. I made sure to find space in my suitcase to take them home with me.
Lunch at the Purple Café and Wine Bar
14459 Woodinville Redmond Rd. NE Woodinville, WA
Hours: Sun – Thurs: 11am to 9pm; Fri & Sat: 11am to 10pm
A great stop for lunch is the Purple Café and Wine Bar. It’s conveniently located right in the center of the Hollywood District. The food was very good, and there were options for everyone, even the picky eaters in my group. Favorites from our lunch included the delicious split pea with ham hock soup, the Dungeness Crab roll, and the Purple chopped salad. The highlight of lunch was the roasted Kobe beef dip sandwich; it was delicious! The home-made salted caramels from the dessert menu are divine and another must-try here. You can easily take them to-go to enjoy later.
Shopping stop at Woodinville Lavender Farm
14223 Woodinville Redmond Road, NE, Redmond, WA
Hours: June thru September 4th (Wed–Sun, 10am–4pm); September 9 thru May (Fri-Sat, 10am–4pm)
Before getting back to wine tasting, a stop at this small shop with a lavender farm in the back provides a beautiful diversion. Here, you’ll have a chance to grab an ice cream treat after lunch, take in some beautiful scenery and do a little bit of shopping.
First, let’s talk dessert. Even if you aren’t interested in lavender, a stop here for the ice cream bars is worth your time. The ice cream is made with lavender and other unique flavors and then dipped in chocolate. It’s made by the Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company (located not too far away from Woodinville) just for the Lavender Farm. We all opted for the cardamom lavender, and its unique flavor was creamy and delicious…worth every calorie. There are 10 flavors in all including chocolate chardonnay lavender, strawberry lavender champagne, or simple vanilla lavender. A bar sells for $3.25 or you can buy a pint for $5.25. I think the next time I’m back in Woodinville, I’ll opt for the pint so I can skip the chocolate coating that is on the bars. The ice cream is so good, it should be enjoyed just on its own!
After you grab your ice cream bar, head out back. You will definitely want to have your camera ready as you walk around the beautiful lavender fields or as you relax in an Adirondack chair on the patio. The scenery here is picture perfect. Afterwards, stop back in the shop to pick up some lavender products like a plush lavender scented bunny or homemade culinary lavender products like lavender sugar and lavender teas.
Lauren Ashton Cellars
14545 148th Ave NE, Suite 211, Woodinville, WA
Hours: Vary by season, check their website but typically opened from 12pm to 5pm or by appt
What to expect: A unique portfolio of hand crafted wines
Your next stop should be the Apple Farm Village where you’ll find a number of additional tasting rooms conveniently located right next to each other, and where you’ll wrap up your day of wine tasting. Start with Lauren Ashton Cellars, located around the building along a pretty walkway.
Here you’ll be able to cozy up to the wine tasting bar to sample your wines with other visitors, choosing from a number of different wines. The wine rep will coach you along, too, helping you find your favorite. Definitely give the Rose a try here, it was sublime.
There are two different tasting options: the Reserve Tasting Experience and the Premium Tasting Experience (for groups of 10 or more with reservations). The Reserve Tasting Experience allows you to sample up to five different wines for $10 per person. The tasting fee is waived with the purchase of one bottle of wine or membership in the Lauren Ashton Cellars Wine Club.
Otis Kenyon Wineries
14525 148th Avenue NE, #111, Woodinville, WA
Hours: Thurs – Sat, 12pm – 6pm; Sun, 12pm – 5pm
What to expect: handcrafted limited quantities of elegantly structured and affordable Bordeaux and Rhone varietal wines
Otis Kenyon Wine is a family owned and managed winery with deep historical ties to the Walla Walla Valley. The tasting room is tucked away just behind Lauren Ashton wineries, so just turn left and walk down the path when you leave Lauren Ashton, and you’ll find the inviting tasting room with its warm orange walls and dark wood accents. You’ll also notice the large silhouette of a dapper man from another time adorning the walls and bottle labels here. Be sure to ask the wine reps about the story behind this gent.
My favorite wine from my day of wine tasting was found here, and it was none other than their Cabernet Sauvignon. My family and I enjoyed our tasting so much that we decided to buy a bottle to enjoy on their cozy outdoor patio. They’ll happily uncork it for you and provide the glasses!
Dinner at Hollywood Tavern
14508 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville, WA
Hours: 11:30am – 11pm
Conveniently located in the heart of Woodinville’s wine country, the Hollywood Tavern is the perfect spot to grab dinner after a day of wine tasting. It’s been a staple in the Hollywood District since its opening in 1947. The comfort-food inspired restaurant and bar is casual, and it is suitable for everyone.
The food is was delicious, from the crab cakes to the steak frites, but the appetizers and desserts were truly the highlights. I highly recommend the mac & cheese, brussel sprouts, and stuffed mushrooms. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the sundae and apple pie.
There’s a firepit outside so if you are in the mood for an after dinner cocktail, try one of their amazing craft cocktails or a bourbon milkshake. With Edison lighting above the Adirondack chairs surrounding the firepit, it’s a comfortable place to enjoy a drink and wrap up your day.
Have you been to the Hollywood District in Woodinville? Which wineries would you add to an itinerary? Share in the comments below!