Friday, September 28, 2018

Bon Vivant Woodinville Wineries Tour

We spent the day touring Woodinville, Washington, where over 130 wineries are located. The vineyards are in
eastern Washington, as the guide at Chateau Ste. Michelle is indicating in the photo. Some wineries, like Ste. Michelle,
make the wine in Woodinville, while some begin the process near the vineyards and only age the wine in Woodinville.
The operation at Chateau Ste. Michelle, the oldest of the wineries, is massive.
Tasting room at Martedi Wines, a much smaller winery that has
 just one winemaker working in a warehouse rather than a "chateau." 
Chairs custom-made from worn-out wine barrels at Martedi Wines.

At Woodhouse Wine Estates -- another warehouse winery -- we tasted two fabulous Alsatian-style Rieslings.
The winemaker, Jean Claude Beck, talked to us quite a bit. Beck comes from Alsace where his family has been making wine since the 16th century.
Lobo Hills Winery, our last stop -- also in a warehouse.
Lobo Hills Winery tasting room.
Our excellent wine guide and driver Donna from Bon Vivant Tours.
The town of Woodinville is around a half-an-hour's drive from Seattle, while the vineyards are in the  Eastern Washington around 100 miles further away where the climate is favorable to winemaking, unlike the rainy coastal climate. The wineries have chosen the closer location to enable wine tasting and other tourism in the more heavily populated area of the state. We appreciated being able to spend a day there during our visit to Seattle, and to taste the wines and to have a very delicious lunch, and then to return to our hotel without a strenuous trek across the state!

Some wineries own their own vineyards, while others contract with the growers to purchase grapes. The excellent Alsatian-style wine at Woodhouse Wine Estates, for example, is made from grapes grown in exactly the same location each year -- specifically, the same rows of vines. Jean Claude Beck, the winemaker, explained to us how he collaborates with the grower to produce the desired quality of grapes. After the harvest Beck works in a winery near the vineyards, and brings the new wine in casks to the Woodinville warehouse for aging, for wine tasting, and for sales.


Jeanie said...

You know I would love to do this! But it always shocks me when I see high-tech commercial prepping. I KNOW that's what they always do, you'd have to. But in my brain I still see Lucy stamping on the grapes in an old oak tub! The wines sound very good indeed and nice that it isn't too far a journey!

Beth F said...

Looks like a great tour ... when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, the local wine industry was just getting started. Now there are so many great wineries.

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I haven't been to the Seattle area yet but will put this on my list if we plan a trip out that way. I'm a wine drinker but my husband just can't seem to acquire a taste for it!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love visiting wineries too! Over New Years we plan to go to Sonoma. We always learn something new when we go, on a wine trip, and of course have great food and wine! Thanks for this virtual tour!

Claudia said...

I would really enjoy that tour! Fun to see the pros at work. My wine making is not at all high-tech :) but I enjoy the process and using the extra fruit we grow.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I lived in Seattle for seven years and in Portland before that. The wine culture and industry there is wonderful. Woodinville is such a great town. I miss the concerts and events at Chateau Ste. Michelle especially--so fun and relaxing. Thank you for the trip back. ;-)

Debra Eliotseats said...

Napa and Sonoma have always been on my bucket list. I've added another area now. How much fun was that?

Carole said...

I didn't know this wine region. Thanks! Cheers from Carole's chatter