Woodinville, Washington is home to some of the best wineries in the country, and if you’re looking for a truly memorable wine tasting experience, this is the place to be. There are dozens of wineries to choose from, each offering something unique. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or a fun day with friends, there’s a winery here that will suit your needs.
Located just 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, Woodinville is an easy day trip from Seattle and one of my favorite ways to spend an early date night or weekend afternoon. Wine tasting is one of the best rainy day activities in the Pacific Northwest in my opinion, so it’s my go-to when I need to get out of the house but don’t want to don the rain pants. Word to the wise: I’m not the only one who knows that Woodinville wine country is a good rainy day activity, so you’d do well to get reservations for tastings, even on rainy weekends.
Woodinville – Convenience for Wine Lovers
Woodinville is wine-lovers’ paradise! This bustling Washington town is a hub of wine activity, and people regularly combine a visit to Seattle with a day at Woodinville’s wineries. From some of the best wineries in the country, wine lovers can tour vineyards, sip wine in tasting rooms, and buy wine directly from the source. A Woodinville tasting room is a great place to get an education in wine too; many offer classes, constantly rotating selections of wines from around the world, and even wine and food pairings. Whether you’re starting off your wine journey or have years of knowledge under your belt, Woodinville has something for every wine lover.
Washington State has 14 recognized AVAs, or American Viticultural Areas, perfect for growing wine. Most of these are in eastern Washington, near Yakima Valley and Walla Walla. The majority of Washington wine comes from the Columbia Valley AVA, where red wines like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah dominate.
The beauty of Woodinville is that despite growing their wines in the hotter, dryer eastern part of the state on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, many of the state’s best wineries have an outpost in Woodinville, letting Western Washington visitors enjoy world-class wines without having to drive hours to get to them.
Wines Washington is Known For
Visiting Woodinville, WA for a wine tasting experience is one of my favorite things to do as a local, and it’s something I take all my guests to. The best Woodinville wineries produce a variety of great wines, from cabernet sauvignon to red blends to my favorite white blends like Chaleur Blanc by Delille Cellars and Optu White by Fidelitas Winery. Washington is known around the United States for producing cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and chardonnay. The Red Mountain AVA, the hottest and driest AVA in the state, produces Bordeaux-style red blends that rival any of the fine wines you will find in Europe.
Other grapes we grow in Washington include cabernet franc, pinot gris, petit verdot, sauvignon blanc, malbec, and even German varietals like Riesling and Gruner Veltinger. And what about pinot noir? You’re more likely to find that with our friends to the south in Willamette Valley in Oregon. You won’t find much pinot being poured in Woodinville.
My Favorite Wine Tasting Experiences in Woodinville
I’ve written before about DeLille being one of my favorite Woodinville wineries. They produce some of my favorite wines, including D2 (a red blend) and Chaleur Blanc (a white blend). I am a member of the DeLille wine club, which gives visitors perks like after-hours tastings and access to special events in their modern tasting room, which is located in the old Redhook Brewery brewery building next to Willows Lodge. Reservations are required for tastings, and guests can enjoy a traditional tasting done seated. There are very light bites available for purchase, but if you’re looking for more than a charcuterie plate, your best bet is to go to The Lounge next door, where you can get a full meal and a glass of wine or bottle of wine from DeLille’s library. The Lounge offers live music some nights of the week, and while it is not possible to get a tasting flight, it offers a great way to access some of DeLille’s wines you can’t normally get outside the winery.
Read about the private blending experience exclusive to wine club members that I wrote about.
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Washington’s first winery is still one of its brightest. Chateau St. Michelle offers just about the only wine tasting experience in western Washington that will remind you of tastings in Napa or Sonoma in California. Chateau Ste. Michelle has a huge property, with picturesque vineyards surrounding old stone buildings, beautiful gardens, and a stylish tasting room. I am a member of Chateau Ste. Michelle as well and I love the breadth of experiences they offer, from private tasting experiences to private library tastings to their summer concert series, where I saw Andy Grammer and Fitz and the Tantrums up close and personal last summer.
Chateau Ste. Michelle would be my pick for large groups, because they have both a beautiful tasting room as well as amazing outdoor space. If you planned a visit last minute, you can always grab a glass of wine, snacks, or a bottle to share, even if there isn’t space for a tasting. Standard tastings are done standing at the large bar, while the other experiences are typically done seated. Chateau Ste. Michelle is probably the best winery for people who are looking to customize their experience without going far – they have several wineries as part of their company and you can book a tasting for Enoteca, showcasing their global portfolio, or Col Solare Bottega, a red wine label made in conjunction with an Italian sister winery.
When you go, don’t miss a stop at their spectacular gift shop, which has some of the most beautiful wine glasses and home decor I’ve seen.
Mark Ryan Winery
Mark Ryan is one of the more prestigious names in Washington wines, and their tasting room in Woodinville has prices to match. I love the wines but I think the tasting experience leaves something to be desired. Like another of my favorite wineries, Fidelitas, Mark Ryan is located in a strip mall down the road from the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. It’s convenient, but I don’t love the feel. If you visit Mark Ryan or Fidelitas, don’t miss a stop for dinner at Purple or the new outpost for Pablo y Pablo, one of my go-to Seattle restaurants.
Fidelitas is a family-owned winery that makes one of my favorite white wines – Optu White. It is the perfect summer wine and I buy a case each year. The winery is moving locations in Woodinville and will soon be located in the same complex as Delille, giving it a big upgrade on its space.
JM Cellars has one of the prettiest properties of any of the Woodinville, which makes for a great wine tasting experience. It’s property is known as Bramble Bump, and visitors can explore the 7 acre arboretum with a glass in hand. Enjoy one of the tasting flights inside if you’d prefer to stay put. Wine enthusiasts will recognize many French varietals on the menu at JM Cellars, and can choose between a signature red or red and white tasting flight.
JM Cellars is a must visit with some of their tastings, paired perfectly with locally-made cheeses. After discovering JM Cellars and Delille Cellars, I explored the Warehouse District where several wineries are located close to each other. Sparkman Cellars was my favorite spot; their wines had such bold flavors combined with a beautiful atmosphere that made this location unforgettable! All in all, Woodinville wine tastings are one of the best around – highly recommended!
Similar to JM Cellars, one of the best places in Woodinville to get a unique wine tasting experience is Patterson Cellars. For our anniversary, I booked a wine and chocolate pairing at their Hollywood District location in Woodinville. The tasting room is small and casual, but the wines and inventive chocolate pairings from j.coco in Seattle were a step up from the everyday tasting experience. It was perfect for a special occasion and a nice choice if you’ve already done a standard tasting at one of the other area wineries.
Located in downtown Woodinville, Bayernmoor is in one of the newer areas for wine tasting, and it is convenient to several other wineries. What I loved about my visit to Bayernmoor was the live music, the clean lines, and – best of all – that the winemaker himself was at the bar, guiding visitors through the options. Bayernmoor feels like a modern winery, with high ceilings and bright lights, whereas some of the older spaces around the Hollywood Schoolhouse feel a little more dated.
At Bayernmoor, you can choose to do a glass, a flight, or a paired tasting. They were able to adapt the menu to accommodate my husband’s gluten allergy, and the pairings were delicious! Not enough for a full meal, but you can order additional food off their full menu. Overall, this felt like a secret gem that I was happy to find.
How to make the most of your wine tasting experience in Woodinville
If you’re looking to taste wines in a truly magical setting, there’s no better place than Woodinville! The Washington wine country is home to some of the Pacific Northwest’s most beloved wineries, each offering something unique and delicious to taste. Make sure you taste your way around noteworthy stops like Chateau Ste Michelle and Novelty Hill-Januik Winery, but also explore smaller, boutique venues for a more intimate experience. To get the most out of your day, consider using a designated driver or using a rideshare service.
Make reservations and leave yourself plenty of time in between – I have gotten burned in the past if I booked appointments back to back…wineries typically don’t give a lot of wiggle room on your arrival time, and when you factor in the drive time (depending on the locations) as well as bathroom breaks, checking out the wine shop and the like, you will need more time than you think.
Finally, if it’s a nice day, don’t forget to soak up the sunshine in one of Woodinville’s many outdoor seating areas. Taking in sweeping views with a glass in hand is a must-do for any true wine enthusiast!
The Best Wine Tasting Experience in Woodinville!
The Woodinville wine region is the right place for wine lovers looking to explore some of the country’s best wine, in a convenient location close to Seattle. With dozens of award-winning wineries spanning tons of wine varietals and a lively downtown with excellent restaurants, it’s no wonder wine lovers flock to Woodinville. Visitors can sample wines from over 200 wineries, savor wine flights in tasting rooms and lounges, or embark on educational tours and private tasting experiences or private events. Plus there are countless delicious dinners, wine pairing dinners and food & wine festivals to explore too. It’s no surprise that Woodinville has been established as a must-stop destination for wine enthusiasts everywhere—this wine region is guaranteed to offer something for everyone.
Looking for other ideas for date activities on Seattle’s Eastside? Check out our full list of unique date night ideas.