I often get asked for recommendations on visiting Woodinville Wine Country. I am far from an expert on the subject, but I do know what wineries I like and am more than happy to share!
Before you plan a visit to Woodinville you need to have an understanding of the area:
- The heart of Woodinville Wine Country revolves around the iconic wineries of Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia. This cluster is also home to the Willows Lodge and Red Hook Brewery. You’ll sometimes hear people refer to this area as the Schoolhouse District, named after the local landmark Hollywood Schoolhouse. Notable wineries right around the schoolhouse include Alexandria Nicole, Delille Cellars, JM Cellars, Ross Andrew, Mark Ryan, Gorman and Januik.
- Recent years have also seen the rise of the Warehouse District. Located a few miles to the northeast, this strip is home to well over 40 wineries, including Efeste, William Church, Darby, Barrage and Guardian.
I strongly recommend putting together a game plan before heading to Woodinville. It’s really easy to visit the Warehouse District and stop in at 10 or more wineries without ever moving your car. Obviously not a good idea unless you plan on spitting while tasting.
Personally, I like to limit a day of wine tasting to right around five wineries. By doing so, I am sure to allow time for lunch and an afternoon cup of coffee before heading out to dinner. When I apply my five winery rule of thumb to Woodinville I like to start with a couple wineries in the Warehouse District, followed by lunch at a local cafe or winery with picnic facilities, then finish with a couple wineries in the School House District.
My favorite stop in the Warehouse District is Efeste, followed closely by either William Church or Guardian. For picnics consider Januik, Distefano or JM Cellars – Januik has a pizza oven and bocce court, Distefano serves a number of small plates and JM Cellars has a picturesque outdoor setting (bring your own food). I recommend closing out the day with Mark Ryan, Gorman or Alexandria Nicole in the Schoolhouse District.
If you have any gas left in the tank, the ultimate end to a day of Woodinville wine tasting is dinner at either Purple or Barking Frog. Both restaurants are busy year-round, so reservations are a must.
What did I miss? I’d love to hear some of your tips for visiting Woodinville Wine County.
If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.