Winers Welcome

No, I didn’t spell it wrong.  I didn’t mean WHINERS – who wants them?!?  I mean Winers…or wine lovers if you prefer.

Washington State is home to over 600 wineries 2nd only to California.  Most of the grapes are grown over on the sunny side of the state, but Woodinville has become the processing, sales and tasting capital of Western Washington.

If you aren’t going away this summer, include Barrel Wine Tours in your “staycation” plans.  Have visitors coming into town and need to occupy them for a day? Sign them up for a wine tour!  Need a romantic way to celebrate your anniversary?  The last paragraph is for you!

We did the 6 hour boutique winery tour with lunch with another couple.  A comfortable van from A&A Limousine Services driven by David picked us up at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Seattle.  A few more guests were picked up at the Hyatt in Bellevue and the Willows Lodge in Woodinville.

Sheri, our “wine guide” for the day gave us information about the wine industry here in Washington State as we made our way to Challenger Ridge, the first stop on our tour.  Challenger Ridge is located among the 50+ tasting rooms on Woodinville-Redmond Road.

If you want to do even more than taste great wines, visit Challenger Ridge’s website for the calendar of events.  One of the only wineries to grow grapes in Western Washington, they have a variety of activities on their Skagit Valley property including a grape stomp in October.  Oh yes, the “Lucy” in me has already put it on our calendar!

Next stop:  Covington Cellars which is in the “warehouse district” of Woodinville.  I had not idea this existed!  Take a standard industrial park and put a winery in every space and you have the “warehouse district”.    They even offer a “Third Thursday” walking wine tour.  Pay $20 and BYOG (Bring Your Own Glass).  You can walk between over a dozen wineries and taste for this one special price.

Covington Cellars hosted our lunch as part of the Barrel Wine Tour and served 3 wines, one with each course.  Oh, and yes, they also shared tastes of their most recent Cabernet Franc which scored 91 points in Wine Spectator Insider!

Again, if you want to get more hands-on with the wine making process, sign up on their website to volunteer as part of the bottling team.  Sure, you will work but they will also feed you and probably send you home with a couple of bottles of wine for your efforts.

Winemaker Kevin Correll at Barrage Cellars let us see (and touch) during “racking”.  He also served wine right out of the barrel as a comparison to the seasoned product from the bottle.  Are you getting the idea that this is both fun and educational?  And feel free to buy some wine when you taste something you want to take home…we left our day of touring with a dozen bottles!

Our last stop of the day was Flying Dreams Winery where Winemaker Leroy Radford shared his passion and knowledge…along with his wine.   Being a rose’ lover, especially in the summer, I fell in love here!

All too soon it was time to get dropped back off where we started.  I promised a “romance tip” and here it is.  If you have an anniversary or special occasion, get a room at the Willows Lodge for the night.  Sign up for the Barrel Wine boutique winery tour.  When you get dropped back off after your day of tasting, enjoy a wonderful meal at the Barking Frog and then wander back across the driveway to your room to end a perfect day any way that says “perfect” to you!

 

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