Just 30 minutes from downtown Seattle is the former logging and farming town turned trendy tasting room mecca of Woodinville, Washington. Now before you get visions of rolling hills and vineyards as far as the eye can see I need to point out that you will not find that Tuscany-esque scene in Woodinville. What you will find is a charming town in the midst of a scenic valley and the opportunity to explore the fabulous Woodinville breweries, wineries, distilleries and restaurants. This self-guided tour has all the makings of a delicious day out, a fun weekend with friends or a romantic getaway.
Woodinville, WA is home to so many wineries, breweries, distilleries, eateries and tasting rooms, well over 100 in fact, that it would take weeks to visit every one of them. For this reason, we will be breaking it all down for you into delicious bite-sized pieces.
Keep in mind that our aim here at Discover the Pacific Northwest is to erase the dividing lines between wine lovers, beer drinkers and spirit sippers so that we can all live and taste harmoniously. For this reason, our itineraries will often include a little taste of each. Woodinville just happens to be a perfect place to do that. However, if your tasting party loves beer but not wine or vice versa it’s easy to substitute along the way.
Whichever way you do it we’re sure you’ll agree that wine tasting is a great thing to do in Washington State.
Hollywood District, Woodinville
Our first Woodinville brewery and winery tasting tour will take place in the so-called Hollywood District. Named not for the well-known spot in Cali but for the old Hollywood Farm that used to occupy the land where Chateau Ste Michelle now sits. A building that ironically could easily feel at home in the Hollywood Hills.
Now even though we say we’re breaking it down for you, the Hollywood District alone has more than 40 establishments to tantalize your taste buds so you definitely won’t see them all in one day. But don’t panic, we’ve laid out a two-day plan which will give you a good sampling at a comfortable and enjoyable pace with nights of rest in a charming accommodation in between. Of course, if you are lucky enough to live within a reasonable drive of Woodinville you can opt for 2 single day trips.
Tasting Tour of Woodinville Breweries & Wineries Day 1
For the purposes of this tour, we are going to assume arrival in Woodinville about 11 am which is when most places open. This will give you a chance for a tasting or two before lunch.
11 am: Stop 1, The Woodhouse Wine Estates
The Woodhouse Wine Estates is a family-run boutique winery with a warm and welcoming attitude and lovingly handcrafted wines.
Don’t let the industrial park location fool you, the comfortable and unpretentious tasting room is tucked behind a roll-up garage door and is decorated in a style that I would call industrial country elegance. Ok so I completely made up that term but they really have managed to bring together concrete floors, an eclectic mix of woods and sparkling crystal chandeliers to create a lovely tasting space.
It’s tough to pick a favorite from their many award-winning wines but I am definitely partial to the Kennedy Shah Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
11:45 am, Stop 2: Sumerian Brewing
Just down the way from The Woodhouse Wine Estates is Sumerian Brewing. This is one of the best known Woodinville breweries. It’s run by the husband and wife team of Mark and Holly Ihrig who left their careers and prior entrepreneurial pursuits to bring their vision of a quality West Coast craft brewery to life.
As a lover of rich, dark and intense beers Nathan is always a sucker for a Stout or a Porter and Sumerian excels at both. If he had to pick just one it would be the Warrior Stout…he swears he wasn’t biased by the name.
*Disclaimer: Woodhouse Wine Estates and Sumerian Brewing are technically considered to be in the West Valley Winery District but we added them to this itinerary as they are on the edge of the Hollywood District.
12:30 pm: Stop 3, Novelty Hill & Januik Winery
Novelty Hill and Januik are actually two independent wineries that teamed up to share a destination tasting room. And what a tasting room it is! With a sleek award-winning modern design and lovely terraces and gardens you may be enticed to stay for more than a tasting.
In fact, if you are visiting on a summer weekend you could opt to stay here for lunch and enjoy a delicious brick oven flatbread pizza on the terrace. In this case, you would skip the Hollywood Tavern and go straight to Woodinville Whiskey Co.
1:15 pm: Stop 4, Lunch at the Hollywood Tavern
The Hollywood Tavern has a long and colorful history dating back to 1947 when Mabel Nieman opened the original eatery which became a favorite of the loggers, farmers and mill workers in the valley. In 2013 the tavern was transformed into the inviting and fun roadhouse you see today.
The Tavern makes a perfect stop for lunch on your Hollywood tour as they have a great atmosphere, fabulous food and a good selection of local brews, wines and spirits so you really don’t have to stop tasting. We can personally vouch for the Ancho Chilli Tots and the Tavern Sliders!
2:15 pm: Stop 5, Woodinville Whiskey Co
Right next door to Hollywood Tavern is Woodinville Whiskey Co. If you are a whiskey lover then you are in for a treat at Woodinville Whiskey Co. Their Master Distiller, David Pickerel, was a 14 year veteran of Maker’s Mark Distillery before coming to Woodinville so you know the whiskey is top-notch.
If you want to see behind the scenes you can also take a tour, see the still and even sample the ingredients as well as taste the fine varieties of Whiskey.
*Tip: At this point, you should check the time. Logistically it makes a little more sense to visit Columbia Winery next, however, if it is much after 3:00 pm you may want to visit Chateau Ste Michelle and then double back to Columbia (only 5 min down the road) afterward. The reason being that Columbia tends to stay open an hour or more later than Ste Michelle which usually closes at 5:00 pm for tastings.
3:00 pm: Stop 6, Columbia Winery
Across the road is the Columbia Winery. Started in 1962 is was Washington State’s first premium winery and continues to produce innovative and award-winning wines.
The tasting room is bright, open and contemporary with a striking decor of their signature red, black and white color scheme. They have perfected their winemaking over 50 years so all of their wine is noteworthy but take note that many of their top wines are only available in their tasting room…so stock up!
4:00 pm: Stop 7, Chateau Ste Michelle
Arguably the Queen of Woodinville, Chateau Ste Michelle is Washington’s oldest winery and is an experience in itself. As you turn onto the impressive driveway and approach the French-style Chateau you will feel as though you’ve been transported to another time and place.
Chateau Ste Michelle is actually one of two state of the art wineries with the other being Canoe Ridge Estate Winery in Eastern Washington. The white wines are produced at the Chateau and the reds at Canoe Ridge. Don’t worry, both are available for tasting and purchase here at Ste Michelle. Although I tend to favor reds I am a big fan of the Indian Wells Chardonnay.
When you are planning your trip to Woodinville be sure to check out Chateau Ste Michelle’s concert schedule. They have some pretty stellar big-name shows on the property such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and The Goo Goo Dolls as well as some fabulous dinners and other fun events.
5:30 pm: Hotel for a nap and freshen up
See below for some accommodation suggestions. If you are not staying overnight you can opt to head straight for an early dinner before going home.
7:00 pm: Dinner at The Barking Frog
The Barking Frog is a small, romantic, highly acclaimed restaurant located in the lovely Willows Lodge. They offer a seasonal menu and world-class wine list and the delicious meals are a tribute to the fresh, top-quality ingredients sourced from local farmers, food artisans and foragers by executive chef Bobby Moore.
The dining room is warm and elegant but in the summer months, the beautiful patio is the place to be. This is definitely an upscale restaurant with pricing to match so be prepared to spend between $30-$60 USD per entree. But trust me it is worth it!
Map of Woodinville breweries, wineries and restaurants in the Hollywood District
Tasting Tour of Woodinville, WA Day 2
No need to rush up in the morning as the tasting rooms don’t start opening until 10 or 11 am. You’ll have plenty of time to find a nice spot for a leisurely breakfast at or near your hotel.
11:00 am: Stop 1, Brian Carter Cellars
Brian Carter Cellars was voted Washington’s Winery of the Year in 2015 and their solid wines are a big part of the reason why.
Brian’s passion for winemaking stems from his early love of science where he became fascinated with the fermentation process and production of yeast. (Not everyone’s idea of a good time but we’re glad he stuck with it.) This fascination eventually led him to become a top consulting premium winemaker for a series of wineries before starting his own successful winery in 2006. Brian is a master and lover of the blend and is known for his intoxicating European style blends and you really can’t leave without trying the yummy Port-style Opulento.
The charming, unpretentious, little yellow tasting room makes you feel right at home and the deck with views of the valley and Mount Rainier beckon you to stay awhile so be sure to bring a camera.
12:00 pm: Stop 2, DeLille Cellars Carriage House
The romantic and charming DeLille Cellars Carriage House is the tasting room for the actual Delille Cellars Chateau Winery 1/4 mile away. As well as the lovely indoor area there are three terraces with lots of seating to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine after the tasting.
DeLille Cellars is an acclaimed and award-winning winery that has the distinction of being the only winery in the world chosen for both the Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wines of the World lists for two consecutive years.
Honestly, all of their wines are fabulous but the Cabernet Sauvignon seems to be winning awards time after time.
1:00 pm: Stop 3, Lunch at the Commons Kitchen & Bar or Purple Cafe & Wine Bar
The Commons and the Purple Cafe are located very close to each other and they both offer good food and a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. My favorite choice for lunch at The Commons would be the curried prawn frites and Nathan would go for the pizza at Purple Cafe.
2:30 pm: Stop 4, Grapeworks Distilling
Grapeworks is a state of the art distillery that aims to create great “unconventional spirits”. Here you will find single varietal vodka and brandy made from Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris grapes. Plus
something called Grape Spirits which is described as “neither a vodka or a brandy. It is not aged in oak and yet it has too much flavor to be considered a vodka.”
Intrigued? Well so are we! Unfortunately, we didn’t know about Grapeworks the last time we did a Woodinville tour but we wanted to add it into this itinerary because…well, who doesn’t want to try some grape spirits? We hope to get there soon and will update this itinerary with our personal experience.
3:30 pm: Stop 5, Patterson Cellars
Patterson Cellars have two tasting rooms in Woodinville, one in the Hollywood District and the other at the actual winery in the Warehouse District. We really like the Hollywood location for it’s cozy tasting room complete with a fireplace and patio ready for any time of year.
Their tasting flights are made up of 5 or 6 of their consistently good wines from their wonderfully diverse selection of varietals and blends. They offer everything from Chardonnay and Cab Sav to dessert wines and port so there’s something for everyone.
Evening things to do in Woodinville
If you’re still ready for more fun there are some other great cafes, restaurants and bars that are open well into the evening for food and libations.
Some we’ve already mentioned are within the Hollywood District such as the Purple Cafe & Wine Bar, The Hollywood Tavern and The Commons.
Another choice within the area is Village Wines and then some others outside of the Hollywood District are the Twisted Cuban Cafe & Bar and the Tandem Dinner & Wine Bar.
Also, be sure to check online or in the local publications for events listings as many of the local establishments offer evening entertainment.
If you’re looking for something really special then The Herbfarm is the place. Here you will be wined and dined in a beautiful eclectically decorated restaurant surrounded by artwork and objects from all over the world.
There is only one seating per night and the experience consists of a nine-course meal paired with 5-6 wines. Menus are changed frequently and are themed based on the freshest available ingredients and the delicious imagination of the Culinary Director, Ron Zimmerman.
Sadly we cannot yet tell you of our own Herbfarm experience but just reading some of the sample menus make my mouth water and taste buds dance. We aim to make it there soon though and will come back to tell you all about it.
Where to Stay near the Hollywood District of Woodinville
Deluxe: Willows Lodge
Right in the center of the Hollywood District Willows Lodge offers Northwest style luxury and comfort within walking distance to many of the wineries and tasting rooms on this itinerary.
Mid range: Cottage Lake Tree house Bed & Breakfast
There are only two rooms at the Cottage Lake Tree House here, one is a bedroom in the main house and the other is an actual private treehouse perched over the lake. “The Nest” tree house is private, romantic and very comfortable with its very own deck for stargazing.
Tasting Transportation in Woodinville
Walking: If you are up for a little exercise you could actually walk these itineraries by having a taxi drop you at the first stop and pick up at the end. It is a little over 1 mile from the first stop to the last. However, this would add time to the itinerary and would include walking along some busy roads so just keep that in mind.
Driving: Of course driving is the fastest and easiest way to get around but you will need a designated driver.
Tour: There are plenty of tour companies that do package tasting tours but unless you have a large group and can arrange a custom tour you will be tied to their choice of establishments.
Final Thoughts on a Woodinville Breweries & Wineries Tour
This two-day itinerary is just a mere taste of what the Hollywood District has to offer, let alone the entire Woodinville area. Check out our extensive listings to see all of the wineries, breweries and distilleries in this part of Washington and come back for more itinerary suggestions, stories and reviews for all over the Pacific Northwest.
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Writer, traveler, wine & food lover and co owner of Discover the Pacific Northwest and Live Dream Discover.