Located only 30 minutes northeast of the Emerald City, Woodinville is home to 120 wine tasting rooms, a dozen or so breweries and distilleries, and 30 restaurants.
The Washington wine scene has exploded in recent years, but unlike Napa and Sonoma, the vineyards are not easy to get to, planted about a four-hour drive from Seattle. Enter the idyllic town of Woodinville. You won't find stunning vineyard landscapes here, but instead a bounty of friendly, low-key tasting rooms pouring delicious and most importantly, affordable vino.
Get a crash course in Washington wine in just 48 hours. Simply fly into Sea-Tac and either rent a car or Uber/Lyft up to Woodinville, where for the most part, you can get around on foot.
Wine + Some Beer & Spirits
The Warehouse District.
(Courtesy of Visit Woodinville)
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Washington's founding winery can't be skipped. Chateau Ste. Michelle celebrated 50 years in 2017 with the opening of a brand new visitor center at their French-inspired estate, though the original 1923 manor built by a lumber baron remains on the grounds today. They host a bevy of experiences, from classic tastings to food and wine pairings to a Winemaker for a Day adventure. // 14111 NE 145th Street (Woodinville), ste-michelle.com
Matthews is the coolest kid in town. They transformed their old production warehouse into a contemporary tasting barn with roll up doors for totally-chill indoor and outdoor sipping. We suggest making this an after-dinner stop on Friday, as they stay open late for live music and dancing. From a rich sauvignon blanc that can age to the sexy Claret blend (their best seller), the wines here show the true potential of Washington to craft premium Bordeaux-style wines that can compete with Napa. Situated on eight acres, Matthews also works double duty as an organic farm, which you can tour, and a farmhouse bed and breakfast. There are only two rooms, but try to snag one if you can. // 16116 140th Place NE (Woodinville), matthewswinery.com
At 26 years old, DeLille was one of the first to set roots down in Woodinville. The winery played a huge role in bringing traditional Bordeaux blends in Washington, sourcing from some of the oldest vines in the state (their D2 and Harrison Hill are the best examples of this). DeLille has built a loyal following via tastings on the intimate patio of their tiny Carriage House Tasting Room, but is finally getting the digs it deserves in 2019. The new, three-story facility, complete with winery production, a roof deck, and fire pits, is set to open in the former Redhook Brewery mid-year. // 14421 Redmond-Woodinville Rd NE (Woodinville), delillecellars.com
This is one of your only wineries in Woodinville with a production facility, as most make their wine elsewhere. At Novelty Hill-Januik—the space is shared by two wine brands, Novelty Hill and Januik (pronounced Jan-ick—they have a catwalk bar overlooking the cellar, providing a birds-eye view of all the action. It's first come, first serve, but your other options aren't too shabby; if it's too cold for the outside deck, grab a seat by the fireplace in their glass-walled hospitality center. Taste a wide array of wines, from sauvignon blanc to cabernet, but whatever you do, ask for their merlot. On weekends, Novelty Hill-Januik is known to serve up brick oven pizzas. // 14710 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE (Woodinville), noveltyhilljanuik.com
Located a few minutes from the center of town, Woodinville's Warehouse District may not look like much, but it's full of energy on the weekends. Dozens upon dozen of concrete-walled production facilities roll up their garage doors and organic block parties unfold, accompanied by live music and food trucks. You can spend an entire day here hopping from one door to the next—Woodinville claims the district is home to more boutique wineries per square foot than any other wine region in the world—and there's more to taste than wine. You'll find tea-infused spirits at Four Leaf (they donate a portion of proceeds to cancer research) and craft brews at Triple Horn Brewing and Dirty Bucket. Locust Cider has both classic and cocktail-inspired ciders on tap, like a Mule and Mohito.
Where to Eat in Woodinville
(Courtesy of The Commons)
Though open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this place is positively buzzing on weekends for brunch, which may have something to do with their signature boozy milkshakes. Try The Grasshopper, made from mint schnapps, meletti cioccolato, fernet, and vanilla bean ice cream. The Commons churns out fresh-baked pastries from their Bake Shop and serves up classic breakfast dishes made for fighting off wine-induced hangovers, like biscuits and gravy, french toast, and eggs benedict. If all else fails, they have four kinds of Bloody Marys as backup. // 14481 Redmond-Woodinville Rd NE (Woodinville), thecommonscafe.com
Purple is not your standard stuffy wine bar. The large industrial space consists of brick, wood, and steel elements, plus giant walls of wine from their 40 page list featuring selections from all over the world. Pair a flight or bottle with hearty, comfort dishes like Maine lobster baked mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and sweet potato pie for dessert. // 14459 Redmond-Woodinville Rd NE (Woodinville), purplecafe.com
One of Woodinville's newest restaurants, Heritage has quickly become a favorite among locals. It's also the perfect lunch spot if you're looking for something healthyish to offset all the wine. Woodinville resident, chef, and owner Breanna Beike has designed an approachable, seasonal, and fresh menu of salads, sammies, and small plates; try the Roasted Tomato & Bell Pepper sandwich (with whipped goat cheese, basil, and caramelized onions on griddled olive bread). Just in case you miss lunch, Heritage has you covered with their Mid-day Munchies Menu (Monday-Friday) featuring tasty, pre-dinner snacks like sweet corn and Dungeness crab hush puppies. // 14450 Redmond-Woodinville Rd NE #101b, heritagewoodinville.com
This longtime Woodinville staple is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch, offering simple and seasonally-driven dishes, like huckleberry pancakes to kickstart your day. The four-course tasting menu at dinner is a steal; for just $85, you can choose from items like Hawaiian ahi and short rib, grilled octopus, and the Farmers Bounty (herbed almond ricotta with squash, turnip peppers, beets, red onion, and carrots). Barking Frog exudes an upscale ski lodge vibe in the winter and the best seat in the house is a round table with a fireplace at its center. // 14580 NE 145th St. (Woodinville), willowslodge.com/barking_frog
If you're down to splurge, The HerbFarm is Woodinville's version of The French Laundry. No Michelin Star, but they do have plenty of other accolades for their epic nine-course meal with wine pairings (go in January for a truffle-themed menu). Make sure you make a trip to the bathroom, even if you don't need to; on the way, you'll pass their mammoth, 26,000-bottle wine cellar. // 14580 NE 145th St., (Woodinville), theherbfarm.com
Where to Stay
(Courtesy of Willows Lodge)
This uber-cozy mountain lodge is not actually located in the mountains, but still has all the makings of the perfect winter getaway—think, gorgeous timber everywhere you look, a fireside wine bar, jacuzzi, and full-service spa. High-tech rooms come with electric fireplaces, heated towel racks, and a shower where you can digitally control the temperature with a push of the button. Bundle up and explore the property's five, gorgeously-landscaped acres, which feature an herb farm and a pair of potbellied pigs named Borage and Basil. What's more, two restaurants are located on site and Willows offers complimentary bike rentals for hopping between tasting rooms or on the scenic, riverside Burke Gilman Trail, located just steps from the lodge. // 14580 NE 145th St. (Woodinville), willowslodge.com