Convenience and scenic beauty—it’s a wonderful combination. Located just 30 miles northeast of Seattle, the Woodinville Wine Country begins right off the highway, and ends in some of the most picturesque images in the world. Over the years, the secret has seeped out, leading Woodinville, Washington to become one of the most visited wine regions in the Pacific Northwest. The quality of wine and access to a plethora of grape varietals has made the region a premier spot for new and upcoming vintners. We’ve collected our top picks of new wineries or tasting rooms to watch in Woodinville right here.
Basel Cellars || Tasting room to open in mid-May
Owners Steve and Jo Marie Hansen of Basel Cellars are no strangers to winemaking, having been making quality out of their Walla Walla estate vineyard since 2004. The Hansens have been sourcing grapes from Walla Walla, Horse Heaven Hills and the Columbia Valley AVAs to produce a diverse selection of red wines and select whites. Soon, they shall be bringing the selection to their new Woodinville tasting room, joining the ranks of numerous other wineries in the area. Look for their grand opening celebration scheduled for this Friday.
Passing Time || Opened 2014
NFL legend’s Dan Marino and Damon Huard first came to wine while on vacation together in the late 90’s. What began as a education crash course for Huard ended up as a joint collaboration in the wine industry. Huard, a former graduate of the University of Washington and familiar with the growing capabilities his college (and now home) state has to offer, was the first to suggest a Washington location for their new venture. Years after Huard and Marino’s first sips of wine together, the aptly names Passing Time winery opened in May of last year, and is currently selling its first vintage. Utilizing the winemaking expertise of Chris Peterson of Avennia wines, Passing Time has been gaining yards in the wine world, already receiving national acclaim.
Kevin White || Tasting room opened 2015
A dose of reality is usually required following the exaltation one feels when he/she decides it’s a good idea to open a winery. Unless you’re independently wealthy, or a couple of NFL legends, opening a fully operational winery from scratch is almost impossibly expensive. The more rationally minded dream-catchers might opt for a more fiscally responsible route of producing and distributing a small amount of wine to raise a bit of capital, before moving on to larger operations. This was the route that Kevin White took after he decided to shift gears from a career at Microsoft, and become a winemaker. Starting in 2010, White began producing small batch wine, using just four oak barrels, and the help of Woodinville’s Baer Winery’s facilities. Although White still works for the tech giant, his winery is up to 67 barrels and he is finally able to lease out his own property last year, with the doors finally opening in February.
WT Vintners || Tasting room opened spring 2014
WT Vintners has been producing wine since 2007. The power team up of the White and Thorsen families, WT Vintners source their grapes from throughout the state when making their diverse and quality options. Primarily focusing on Old World, food-friendly styles, winemaker Jeff Lindsey-Thornsen holds the philosophy of limiting man’s involvement in the winemaking process, only getting the ball rolling and making sure it doesn’t go too far off course. With the opening of their first tasting room last spring, WT Vintners can now offer patrons a taste of their six wines year round.
Savage Grace Wines || Tasting room opened spring 2014
For any of you who know anything of Cabernet Franc, you know that it’s a tragically under-appreciated grape. But it was this grape that Michael Savage produced first when he started making wine in 2011. Besides having the greatest last name ever, Michael, and his wife Grace, walked into the winemaking scene with an appreciation for the more subdued, yet intricate wines of France, wines that are not so popular in the country that says “bigger is always better.” Of course, this is a generalization, and Savage was hoping to tap the market who look for a more baroque style of wine. The wines caught on, and Savage Grace was able to open their own tasting room last spring.
Torii Mor Winery, Woodinville || Opened 2014
Rather than shipping Oregon wine to Washington, why not just build a tasting room up there? An offshoot of the successful Torii Mor winery in Dundee, Oregon, Torii Mor Woodinville seeks to bring the splendor of the Willamette Valley to Northern Washington. The new tasting room, located in the Apple Farm Village of Woodinville, offers guests tastes of numerous renowned Pinot Noirs, as well as many other varietals.