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Woodinville Wine Country

rain 45 °F

Woodinville, located just 30 minutes outside of Seattle, is a wine enthusiast’s playground. With over 40 wineries to tour and hundreds of wines to taste, one could easily make Woodinville a weekend getaway. Or for the truly ambitious, it could be done in one potentially drunken day.

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The Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville is at the heart of the Woodinville wine country. Founded in 1934, it is easily the oldest winery in Washington and has been producing quality, award winning wines for several decades. Their Woodinville winery was built in 1976 and spurred the establishment of dozens of other wineries in the area. With daily tours around the clock, you could easily stop in on a whim for a 40 minute walking tour and free tasting (Did I say free? Yes, totally free). My fiancé and I arrived around noon (it’s never too early for wine tasting!), our tour group was large, perhaps 35 people, and it felt like we were cattle being herded through the maze of machinery. We were accompanied by a camera crew – supposedly filming us for promotional purposes. We donned our most celebrity worthy personas and fought our way in front of the camera. I will be checking their website for my five minutes of fame in the coming weeks. The best part of the tour came towards the end when we were able to taste a selection of wines. We were taught technique for swirling, sniffing, and testing the color. To a true wine connoisseur these are important steps to the enjoyment of fine wine, but to my bland palate, I couldn’t tell the difference between a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon any day. As our tour ended we were brought to the incredible wine and gift shop (it felt very much like Disneyland when you step off the ride into the appropriately themed gift shop). We said our thanks and were off to our next destination.

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Across the street from the Chateau Ste. Michelle, is the Redhook Ale Brewery. Founded in 1981, this brewery first got its rocky start in Ballard. Locals were slow to acquire a taste for this Belgian inspired spicy ale and dubbed it “banana beer” for its banana like flavor. Within several years, people caught on and Redhook quickly outgrew their brewing facilities. Several moves later, they established their Woodinville brewery along with an identical facility on the East coast. My fiancé and I are not beer drinkers; I can honestly say that my last beer was as an underage college student at a house party about five years ago. We agreed to the tour and made a pact to try at least one beer. Talk about bang for your buck, the Redhook Brewery tour cost an entire dollar and included five, 5 oz. samples, a one hour tour, and get this…we got to keep the collector tasting glass! Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and hilarious. We had the opportunity to taste our way through the light to dark ales. The tasting included Slim Chance, Copper, ESB, IPA, and Porter. How perfect that at the point we started to feel a little loose we were ushered out of the tour into the brewery restaurant… nachos anyone?

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Our tour through Woodinville ended here, but this is definitely a place I will return to. With just about 39 more wineries still to tour, you’ll know where to find me on my days off.

Posted by Jennylynn 19:12 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites

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